95 million litres of sewage flowing into Tawi every day, Govt mute spectator: DB

*Seeks full-fledged Jammu city traffic mgmt plan
Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, Apr 29: Shocking it may sound but it is a fact that 95 million litres of sewage is flowing untreated into River Tawi everyday, which otherwise is considered as sacred water body of the winter capital city. The prevailing situation has clearly established that all the plans aimed at checking pollution of this river have remained only on papers because of extreme non-seriousness on the part of all the concerned authorities.
These startling figures came to the notice of Division Bench of State High Court comprising Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Janak Raj Kotwal in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) titled Rajinder Singh Versus State and Others.
While pointing towards the information brought to its notice by the official machinery of the State in response to the directions issued earlier, the DB said, “as already noted quality of water of River Tawi at the exit point from the city is seriously degraded as compared to the quality of the water at the entry point of the city”, adding “this is primarily due to discharge of untreated sewage into the River Tawi”.
Three Sewage Treatment Plants have been set up or are under construction at Bhagwati Nagar in the immediate periphery of Jammu city. One Sewage Treatment Plant has a capacity of 10 million litres per day but the same is underutilized and approximately five million litres per day is treated in this Sewage Treatment Plant.
There is another Sewage Treatment Plant having a capacity of 30 million litres per day but this is not operational. Similarly, the third STP at Bhagwati Nagar having a capacity of 27 million litres per day is under construction.
“On a rough estimate, in the city area of Jammu approximately 100 million litres per day of sewage is generated. From these figures, it is evident that the STPs which have been constructed and under construction would only account for when fully operational for 67 million litres per day of sewage, which is far below the extent of sewage generated per day”, the DB said while stressing the need for setting up of more STPs for old city areas.
The DB has noted with shock that as on date only 5 million litres per day of sewage is being treated out of the 100 million litres of sewage generated. “In other words, 95 million litres of sewage is flowing untreated into River Tawi and polluting the same”, the DB added.
“The rest of the city across the River Tawi has no STP and we don’t even know the figures of the amount of sewage which is generated per day in these parts of the city”, the DB said while adding Commissioner/Secretary to Government, Housing and Urban Development Department as party respondent in the PIL.
The DB directed the Commissioner/Secretary to file a status report indicating as to what plans are in place for treatment of sewage in the rest of the city across the River Tawi.
“Illegal dumping of municipal solid waste is also one of the major sources of pollution of River Tawi and as per Dr Yash Paul, Scientist-B, Head Labs Jammu and State Board Analyst, there are various sites where such illegal dumping takes place. Some of these sites are Peerkho, Pacci Dhaki, Sher-e-Kashmir Bridge and Bhagwati Nagar”, the DB pointed out, adding “this raises the concern with regard to the manner in which municipal solid waste is to be dealt with by the Jammu Municipal Corporation”.
Accordingly, the DB directed the Commissioner JMC to file a status report with regard to the management of municipal solid waste. “The status report shall indicate as to whether there are any plans for setting up dumping sites or more importantly waste-to-energy plants or recycling plants for the disposal of municipal solid waste in a scientific and productive manner”, the DB further directed.
It is pertinent to mention here that Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests during its visit to Jammu on May 29, 2015 had expressed shock over appalling condition of River Tawi and attributed the same to the lack of required attention from the concerned authorities. The panel had also wondered how Jammu is called capital city when it is not having proper solid waste management and sewerage treatment facilities.
However, the recommendations and observations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee were not taken seriously by any of the concerned authorities and startling revelations made by none else than the official machinery before the Division Bench of the State High Court is the testimony of the same.
About another grave issue confronting Jammu city—air pollution, the DB said, “vehicles are the major contributors of air pollution. However, the pollution checking centres established by the Transport Department are not seriously complying with the requirements prior to the issuance of pollution under control certificate”.
The DB has directed the Transport Commissioner to ensure that pollution control certificates are issued by the authorized centres only after the full procedure for satisfying themselves that the vehicles are non-polluting. Moreover, the Transport Commissioner and IGP Traffic have been directed to ensure that all the vehicles plying on the roads are compliant with the prescribed standards.
“The Pollution Control Board with the assistance of Traffic Police should check vehicles and take action against the defaulters under the Motor Vehicles Act”, the DB said while issuing notices to Transport Commissioner and IGP Traffic.
After going through the report submitted by the Pollution Control Board, the High Court observed, “it is evident that a proposal has been submitted by the PCB to the Central Pollution Control Board for setting up of 13 new Ambient Air Monitoring Stations in Jammu division”.
Accordingly, the DB directed the Central Pollution Control Board to file a status report with regard to the progress vis-à-vis this proposal. “The CPCB shall also indicate the status of the proposal which has been sent to it under the National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Network and Continuous Automatic Air Quality Monitoring Stations”, the DB further directed.
As far as traffic management in Jammu city is concerned, the DB has directed the IGP Traffic to inform the court about full-fledged traffic plan if any for the Jammu city. “In case there is none then such a plan needs to be drawn up to ensure free flow of traffic”, High Court added.
“This is necessary for at least two reasons—the first being that when there is idle traffic, a lot of fuel is used up, which is a waste of a valuable natural resource”, the DB said, adding “the second reason being that idling traffic adds to the air pollution in a great measure”.
“Apart from this, when there is no free flow of traffic, the public is put to great distress and there is a huge wastage of time. For all these reasons a comprehensive traffic management plan, which ensures free flow of traffic, should be in place and should be implemented”, the DB headed by Chief Justice said.
Senior Additional Advocate General Seema Shekhar accepted notices on behalf of Transport Commissioner and Commissioner/ Secretary Housing and Urban Development Department while as Senior Additional Advocate General Wasim Sadiq Nargal accepted notice on behalf of IGP Traffic.


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