City up for trash crisis after NGT’s Achan ban

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Srinagar: In contempt proceedings against the state government, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has stopped garbage dumping at the Achan landfill site here pushing the already besieged summer capital to festering crises.

In compliance of the NGT directives, the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) has formally stopped lifting of garbage from anywhere across the City for the past around a week.  As a result thousands of tons of garbage heaps lie unattended in the City under curfew since July 8 when the Valley erupted in the wake of killing of militant commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani and his two associates.

Official documents reveal that the NGT was not satisfied with SMC with regard to the compliance of the previous directives for scientific disposal of waste in the summer capital.

The Court in its recent orders issued warrants against the Commissioner Secretary Housing and Urban Development Department and the Commissioner SMC asking the government to stop garbage lifting forthwith.

“We issue bailable warrants against the Secretary Concerned and the Commissioner of Municipal Corporation in the sum of Rs 10,000 each to the satisfaction of the arresting Officer, in exercise of our powers and in terms of the provision of the section 19(4) (a) of the National Green Tribunal    act 2010 read with order XVI Rule 10(3) and Section 51 code of Civil Procedure 1908. The bailable warrants shall be executed by the SHO of the concerned areas for their production. They shall be present with complete records,” the Court observed.

In the same order, the Court directed the state to stop dumping any further garbage at the Achan landfill site. “Keeping in view the massive collection  of waste and the same continuing indiscriminately even now, without any effective measures including segregation and proper dumping, we direct and prohibit the Municipal corporation and the state government from throwing any waste, municipal waste or any kind of waste at the site in question that is Achen at Srinagar,” the Court orders read. The case has been listed for August 22.

The NGT observed that state government had failed to execute orders for scientific disposal of waste thereby putting public health at risk. “We are informed that despite the fact the state of Jammu and Kashmir has invited tenders three times and on the last occasion even extended the date for submission of the tender, not a single tender was submitted. Still in case, of the only tenderer who had earlier shown willingness to the work, according to the government they are of the opinion it should not be awarded to him,” the Court said.

“This is most critical case of municipal solid waste being thrown at a site which is causing serious public health and environment issues. We had directed the Secretary concerned and the Municipal Commissioner be present. Despite our orders they are not present. We do not know what effective alternative method Government is adopting. There is no reason whatsoever for the officer not to comply with the orders of the Tribunal and not remain present today,” the court said.

With the garbage not having been lifted for around a week, the people have already started facing the heat that too when the Valley is reeling under strict curfew.

Around 4,000 metric tons of garbage have accumulated on the streets while stench emanating from the garbage heaps has made the life of besieged people miserable. On an average the City spews around 400 metric tons of garbage.

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