Upset over the delay in formulating a concrete action plan for solid waste management in Surat, the National Green Tribunal has ordered the district collector to recover Rs 75 crore from the city municipal corporation and in case of default “confiscate entire property, including chair of the mayor”.
The bench, while passing the direction, stated that the petition was filed in July 2014, and despite several orders by the NGT, the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) has failed to come up with a proper municipal solid waste (MSW) programme. The order was passed on December 22, but made available only Tuesday.
The western zone bench of the tribunal was hearing the petition filed by Surat-based Kantha Vibhag Yuva Koli Samaj Parivartan Trust, praying for implementation of the MSW Rules, 2000, which applies to municipal authorities across the nation.
The coram of justice V R Gaonkar and judicial member Dr Ajay A Deshpande, expert member, stated, “We cannot be oblivious of the fact that Surat is a well-known city and is like Manchester of India. It is but natural, due to such industrial activities that large scale MSW disposal is necessary and so also due to industrialisation, population of Surat has increased and will go on increasing.”
The court had previously stated that Surat generates 1600 ton MSW per day, of which only 50 ton is treated.
The tribunal ordered the Surat collector to “recover amount of Rs75 crore from the SMC within two weeks and after scheduled date to confiscate entire property, including chair of the Mayor of SMC, stock and barrel for effecting recovery in question, in case of default.”
The order stated that the action plan and affidavit shall be submitted 10 days prior to the next hearing on January 28.
When contacted Surat collector Rajendra Kumar said he has “yet not received court’s order in his personal capacity and not aware of such order.”
Appearing for SMC, advocate Dhaval Nanavati told the NGT that a proper plan would be submitted before the tribunal and added that Rs 22 crore, as capital expenditure amount, has been segregated for implementation of MSW plant by the corporation. He also said that Ministry of Environment and Forest and the state government have been requested for money provided under “Swachh Bharat” scheme for implementation of the MSW programme.
However, the tribunal stated, “We are at loss to know whether the corporation has taken due steps to complete the homework by doing cost-benefit audit, and necessary due diligence for the amount required for implementation of the programme.”