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NGT Raps Up Kerala Government For Non-Compliance Of Solid Waste Management Rules

Nupur Thapliyal
30 Jan 2021 7:48 AM GMT
NGT Raps Up Kerala Government For Non-Compliance Of Solid Waste Management Rules
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The Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) recently rapped up the Kerala Government for its failure in administration and non compliance of Solid Waste Management Rules (SWM) Rules, 2016 causing pollution in Bharampuram Solid Waste Processing Plant situated at the outskirts of Kochi, Kerala. The matter has been pending before the NGT for the past two years after a report...

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The Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) recently rapped up the Kerala Government for its failure in administration and non compliance of Solid Waste Management Rules (SWM) Rules, 2016 causing pollution in Bharampuram Solid Waste Processing Plant situated at the outskirts of Kochi, Kerala.

The matter has been pending before the NGT for the past two years after a report was received by Justice A.V. Ramakrisna Pillai, former Kerala High Court Judge dated 23.02.2019 highlighting the issue of unscientific dumping of waste.

The NGT vide order dated 03.07.2020 directed the Chief Secretary of Kerala Government to take the matter seriously and take appropriate remedial action by constituting a three member team comprising of Secretary, Urban Development Department, Chairman, State PCB and concerned Municipal Commissioner for remediation of legacy waste sites and waste processing plant in order to handle day to day waste generation.

However, in the hearing last week the Tribunal observed that despite previous orders and directions issued by the NGT on several occasions in the last two years, the State Government had miserably failed to comply with the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 (SWM Rules) and handling of solid waste.

"Long stories of all round failure of the administration are poor substitute for good governance required to enforce environmental rule of law for protection of public health and the environment. The fact remains that the administration is patently a failure in protecting citizens' right to clean environment which is in no way less important than the right to live in crime free environment". The Tribunal observed.

At the outset, the Tribunal also took note of the report submitted by the State Pollution Control Board wherein it was found that the samples reflected that environmental parameters were not being met by the State authorities.

Looking at the gravity of the issue, the NGT ordered the transfer of proceedings to the Southern Bench for further consideration. However, the Tribunal went ahead to observe that the least expected measure from the Secretary of Urban Development of the State is to place order for execution of legacy waste bio mining, landscape of area of plantation, development of bio diversity park, rectification of compost plant and continuous monitoring by the authorities.

"The Municipal Corporation is still continuing unauthorized operations. Work is yet to start for bio-mining. Compensation has been assessed but not recovered. Windrow composting plant is in dilapidated condition. One wonders whether the officers dealing with the matter lack in competence or will their Constitutional obligation to provide clean environment to the citizens. Failure to uphold environmental rule of law is no different from maintaining law and order and protecting the citizens against crimes. Continuing violation of environmental norms is not only violation of rights of citizens but also has potential for damage to the public health" The order said.

Case Name: In Re: Report received from State Level Monitoring Committee, Kerala, constituted by this Tribunal vide order dated 16.01.2019 in O.A. No. 606/2018, headed by Justice A.V.R. Pillai, former Judge of Kerala High Court, to oversee compliance of directions on the subject of Solid Waste Management.

Order Dated: 21.01.2021


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