NGT expresses concern over unsigned report, seeks action plan from DM Doda

Increasing pollution in water bodies of Bhaderwah

JKPCC planning to impose Environmental Compensation

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Mar 4: Expressing concern over unsigned report submitted in response to the direction issued in the matter of increasing pollution in the water bodies of Bhaderwah valley, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the District Magistrate Doda to disclose the time-bound action plan to remediate the problem. However, the Jammu and Kashmir Pollution Control Committee (JKPCC) has submitted that it is contemplating to impose Environmental Compensation on the defaulting bodies.
“The revelations regarding increasing pollution in water bodies of Bhaderwah Valley raised substantial issue relating to the compliance of environmental norms and implementation of the provisions of scheduled enactments as such the Tribunal took the suo-moto cognizance of the same”, said a Bench of the NGT comprising its Chairperson Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Expert Member Dr A Senthil.
“On advance notice, a status report dated 27.02.2024 has been filed by the Jammu and Kashmir Pollution Control Committee. Another report has been filed by some authority in the tabulated form which does not bear the name or signature of the authority which had filed the report. Hence, it is not possible to decipher from the report as to who has filed it”, the NGT said.
During the course of hearing, counsel appearing for District Magistrate Doda submitted that the steps have been taken for door to door collection of garbage and Section 144 CrPC has been imposed by the District Magistrate in the area concerned. However, counsel could not point out any concrete plan or effective steps to remediate the problem of water bodies/river.
Accordingly, NGT has directed the District Magistrate Doda to file report in the form of his affidavit disclosing the time bound action plan to remediate the problem as also the water sample analysis report from different points of the water bodies/streams/river within eight weeks.
During the hearing, Shaveta Jandiyal, Regional Director (Jammu) on behalf of Member Secretary, Jammu and Kashmir Pollution Control Committee appeared virtually and submitted that a three-member committee has been constituted to examine the gravity of the issue and it is expected that the report from the committee will be received shortly. She further submitted that on the receipt of the report, remedial action will be taken including action for imposition of Environmental Compensation on the defaulting bodies.
Accordingly, NGT directed Pollution Control Committee to complete the action by following the due process within four weeks from the date of receipt of the report from the joint committee and submit action taken report at least one week before the next date of hearing—-May 8, 2024.
In the unsigned report submitted to the NGT, it has been mentioned that issue is being considered at length and various corrective actions are being planned to deal with it. “Few measures which have recently been included in the District Environment Plan are Municipal Solid Waste Management Plan for effective management of waste right from collection to scientific disposal for which hoppers, garbage vehicles, shredders and STOP plants have been planned”, the report said.
In the report, there is mention of installation of three sewage treatment plants for all three Urban Local Bodies, strengthening of ULBs by enhancing skill and providing the required manpower to these bodies, rejuvenating water bodies by reinforcing their embankments, desilting and garbage removal, installation of iron grills and check dams for stopping garbage, establishment of water testing labs for checking quality of water at regular basis and creation of green corridors along with boundaries of water bodies. However, there is no mention of time-frame for all these works.
EXCELSIOR in its edition dated March 1, 2024 had exclusively reported that Jammu and Kashmir Pollution Control Committee in its report to the NGT has projected gloomy picture about waste management in Bhaderwah.
The JKPCC has informed the NGT that a per the annual report submitted by the Directorate of Urban Local Bodies, Jammu for the Financial Year 2022-23, Bhaderwah Municipal Committee is generating 5 tonnes of municipal solid waste every day, which is being collected but not being treated property.
The Pollution Control Committee has further informed the National Green Tribunal that the material recovery facility shed at Dranga in Bhaderwah is not fully operational and the vermin-composting beds are partially operational and many of them are lying defunct. Moreover, the site was found vacant for many months as no waste is transported to the site as of now.