NGT expresses displeasure over reports of CEO Municipal Council, JKPCC

Pollution of River Devika at Udhampur

Seeks time bound action plan for remediating problem

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, May 21: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has expressed displeasure over the reports of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Municipal Council Udhampur and Jammu and Kashmir Pollution Control Committee (JKPCC) and pointed out that no time bound action plan has been reflected to deal with the issue of pollution of River Devika.
While dealing with the original application titled “Rohit Padha Versus Union Territory of J&K”, which highlights the issue of pollution of River Devika at Udhampur, the National Green Tribunal had noted the issue of unrestricted discharge of municipal solid waste as well as plastic waste through Nullahs and drains leading to the river.

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The Joint Committee constituted by the Tribunal had also submitted the report to the same effect and had pointed out that Municipal Council Udhampur was the main defaulter. In spite of notice to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Municipal Council Udhampur and District Magistrate Udhampur, no reply was filed as such the National Green Tribunal vide order dated on 12.03.2024 had directed for their personal appearance. Thereafter, the matter was adjourned on the pretext of the difficulty of the District Magistrate in view of the Lok Sabha elections.
When the original application came up for hearing few days back, District Magistrate Udhampur and CEO Municipal Council Udhampur appeared virtually before the NGT Bench comprising of Justice Prakash Shrivastava (Chairperson), Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi (Judicial Member) and Dr A Senthil Vel (Expert Member).
“The Tribunal by order dated 12.03.2024 had directed the CEO Municipal Council Udhampur to file fresh action taken report disclosing the time bound plan for remediating the situation. The report dated 10.05.2024 has been filed by the CEO Municipal Council Udhampur. In that report also, no concrete plan to remediate the situation has been reflected”, the Bench observed.
The Bench further said, “the CEO Municipal Council Udhampur has referred to the so-called plan at Page No. 438 filed along with the report and has submitted that the time bound program has been prepared”, adding “the program mentions expected timeline after 04.06.2024 but it is not very specific in respect of commencement and conclusion of different stage with reference to dates”.
For bio-remediation at Material Recovery Facility (MRF) Sui, the CEO has mentioned two months for DPR/Estimate, one month for tendering, one month for allotment and two months for execution. For bio-remediation of daily waste generated of Municipal Council Udhampur and disposed at Mand, the CEO has mentioned two months for DPR/Estimate, one month for tendering, one month for allotment and six months for execution.
Similar timelines have been mentioned for development of 15 Metric Tonnes wet waste processing facility at Sui and development of facility to handle construction and demolition waste at Roun Udhampur.
“The District Magistrate Udhampur has stated that 3 Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) of 8, 4 and 1.6 MLD—total 13.6 MLD have been set up and the daily generated liquid waste within the Municipal Council is 5.9 MLD. The Member Secretary, JKPCC has informed that out of this 5.9 MLD waste generated every day, 4.5 MLD is treated but he is unable to explain about the remaining 1.4 MLD”, the NGT observed.
“The Member Secretary also could not explain as to how the STPs are operating with less than 50% capacity. The reports on record do not reflect that the problem which has been reflected in the original application is completely remediated”, the Bench said.
Accordingly, the NGT has directed the CEO Municipal Council Udhampur to file a fresh report clearly reflecting the time bound action plan along with the timeline showing end time point for each stage and final date when the problem will be remediated. “Let the same be filed within four weeks”, read the order of the NGT, which will hear the original application on September 2, 2024.