One more Municipality found openly causing severe damage to environment

Municipal solid waste dumped along NH and being burnt on the bank of River Chenab by Municipal Committee Ramban.
Municipal solid waste dumped along NH and being burnt on the bank of River Chenab by Municipal Committee Ramban.

PCB imposes Environmental Compensation of several lakhs
Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, July 10: One more Municipal body has been found openly causing extensive damage to the environment by resorting to unplanned and unscientific disposal of waste material but still the Housing and Urban Development Department has remained unmoved.
However, the Jammu and Kashmir Pollution Control Board while taking tough stance has imposed Environmental Compensation of several lakhs of rupees on the Executive Officer of the erring Urban Local Body for not only causing severe damage to the environment but also putting the health of the people to grave risk.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that reports about illegal and unscientific dumping and disposal of solid waste by Municipal Committee Ramban were received with photographic evidence in the last quarter of last year by the Jammu and Kashmir Pollution Control Board.
Accordingly, the matter was taken up with Deputy Commissioner Ramban, Director Urban Local Bodies Jammu and Executive Officer Municipal Committee Ramban through series of communications. However, there was no response from any stakeholder.
The District Officer of the Pollution Control Board Ramban vide report dated December 21, 2019 stated that no positive change on the ground was brought about by the concerned Municipal body and the reckless handling and unscientific disposal of solid waste along the National Highway across the downhill slope at Cafeteria Morh Ramban was going on unabatedly.
“This is ultimately affecting the health of local residents, flora and fauna and morphology of river in brazen violation of the directions of the National Green Tribunal and provisions of Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016”, the District Officer mentioned in the report.
Keeping in view the continuous failure of the Executive Officer Municipal Committee Ramban to dispose of the solid waste in scientific manner and to avoid further illegal dumping of the waste, on January 1, 2020, a show cause notice for levying of Environmental Compensation in the light of National Green Tribunal directions was served upon Executive Officer calling upon him to show reasons within 15 days as to why Environmental Compensation may not be levied upon him for these violations.
As per the latest inspection report of District Officer of Pollution Control Board dated June 24, 2020 along with documentary evidence the open dumping as well as burning of solid waste at the same place is still being continued in violation of Solid Waste Rules, 2016 with impunity, which is ultimately damaging the environment and is a serious health hazards for the locals.
On the basis of this report, the Regional Director PCB recently recommended the Environmental Compensation to be levied against the concerned authority under Polluter Pays Principle in line with the directions issued by the National Green Tribunal for such illegal open dumping and unscientific disposal by burning of municipal solid waste.
Accordingly, Environme-ntal Compensation to the tune of Rs 12.88 lakh has been levied upon Executive Officer, Municipal Committee Ramban for a period of violation of Municipal Solid Waste Rules, 2016 commencing from the date of issuance of show cause notice —-January 8, 2020 up to July 2, 2020.
“The Environmental Compensation/penalty for such violations of environmental norms shall continue at the appropriate rate as per environmental laws and approved guidelines on day to day basis till compliance is made by the concerned Urban Local Body”, read the order of the PCB.
The Executive Officer of the Municipal Committee Ramban has been directed by the Pollution Control Board to deposit the Environmental Compensation within 45 days failing which interest at the rate of 12% on compensation amount shall accrue at the risk and responsibility of Executive Officer.
Municipal Committee Ramban is the second Urban Local Body in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir which has been directed to deposit Environmental Compensation for causing immense damage to the environment. Similar directions have already been issued to the Municipal Council Udhampur.
“It is a matter of serious concern that while Pollution Control Board is initiating action against the Municipal bodies for violating the environmental laws, the Housing and Urban Development Department is acting as mute spectator and is not ready to come up with policy to ensure that Urban Local Bodies don’t play with the environment any more”, sources said.


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