HC seeks report on SRO which allows use of polythene despite ban

Fayaz Bukhari
SRINAGAR, Dec 7: The State High Court today sought comprehensive report from Government on SRO which allows use of polythene with 50 microns in thickness despite blanket ban by the Court on use of polythene.
The Division Bench of Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey passed the direction after the Regional Director of PCB made a statement before the Court that the use of polythene in Pahalgam is strictly banned. However, the polythene with 50 microns in thickness is allowed by virtue of SRO 45 passed on February this year.
DB while passing the direction observed that the Court has strong doubts regarding the misuse of said SRO and how the said SRO be implemented. Court in this connection directed PCB to examine the SRO minutely.
“Ban on polythene carry bags. Ban on the manufacture, stocking, distribution, sale and use of polythene carry bags, plastic sheets or like, cover made of plastic sheet, plastic packaging and multilayered packaging less than 50 microns in thickness within the territorial limits”, SRO 45 reads.
Court also observed till the comprehensive report is filed there should be complete ban on use of polythene in Pahalgam in addition to entire State. Court has also sought production of the SRO on next date from the authorities.
Court also during hearing of PIL on protection and preservation of ecologically fragile environs of Pahalgam observed to all the authorities who were present in the court in terms of yesterday’s order that wherever polythene is found, seize it without waiting for Court directions.
Various officers of different departments were present in the Court, including CEO Pahalgam Development Authority, Regional Director PCB, DFO Forests and others and apprised the Court about compliance of direction passed on October 24.
“A lot had been done to control the menace of polythene and before the SRO is implemented comprehensive report be filed in this regard and till then earlier directions on use of polythene shall remain in force”, DB said.
With regard to unabated construction in and around the resort CEO PDA has been directed to strictly comply with the directions of the Court and ensure no fresh construction comes up.
About the functioning of STPs in hotels situated in Pahalgam, PCB has been asked to submit its latest status report before next date indicating therein functioning of STPs in hotels which have more than 20 rooms.
It is mentioned here that yesterday when none was present before the Court on behalf of various departments, Court had directed for personal appearance of heads of various departments in the matter. Among them were Chief Town Planner, Deputy Commissioner Anantnag, Chairman PCB and Regional Wild Life Warden.
Court today also directed the Divisional Commissioner to supervise whether any use of polythene in any district and submit its action taken report in this connection before the Court on next date.
Court on October 24 had directed the State Pollution Control Board to carry out a survey to the Hotels in Pahalgam to check as to whether STPs are functioning within permissible limits.