Updated: June 25, 2021 10:23:12 am
After the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) failed to comply with tribunal directions by not clearing the legacy waste as stipulated, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed encashment of the PMC’s bank guarantee of Rs 2 crore to restore the environment.
“The legacy waste site has not been cleared as stipulated, bank guarantee of Rs 2 crore, furnished by the PMC to guarantee compliance and on failure encashment, is liable to be encashed,” said the order, issued on June 21, by the bench of Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Justice Sudhir Agarwal, Justice M Sathyanarayanan, Justice Brijesh Sethi and expert member Nagin Nanda.
It said the amount could be utilised to restore the environment under an action plan to be prepared by the PMC but approved by the state Pollution Control Board.
“The state pollution control board and environment department may take necessary requisite measures for ensuring compliance of the statutory rules. Compensation may be assessed and recovered for continued violations,” the order said.
The PMC has been asked to file a report, giving the extend of waste still remaining at the site and the timeline by which the same will be finally cleared, status of establishment of waste processing plants and their performance in terms of management of rejects arising out of waste processing plants, avoiding dumping as sanitary land-filling.
The NGT said it has already issued time-bound directions for clearance of legacy waste sites to ensure compliance of solid waste management rules through orders on January 24 and July 2 last year.
The time limit for bio-remediation was five years from the commencement of the rules, which ended in April this year. The NGT said the time taken is clearly beyond the time stipulated under the rules and order of the tribunal.
However, the PMC’s counsel could not inform about the quantum of waste that remains to be cleared and said there was no fresh dumping of waste taking place at the site since January last year. Part of the site has already been bio-mined and the remaining site will also be cleared soon.
The PMC also denied the applicant’s statement that the civic body was setting up a 200 metric-tonne garbage-processing plant at the site. Bhagwan Bhadale, along with villagers of Uruli Devachi and Phursungi, had submitted an application, seeking enforcement of the 2018 order of the NGT, directing scientific disposal of the dumped waste amounting 2.3 lakh metric tonnes and the waste continuously generated in the PMC area.
Representing the applicants, lawyer Asim Sarode urged the tribunal to invoke ‘Polluters Pays’ principle on the PMC for the bank guarantee of Rs 2 crore to be encashed and direct its utilisation for restoration of the environment at the garbage site of the villages.
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