DB seeks affidaviot from UOI indicating therein various schemes and the funds allocation relating to solid waste management

[ September 19, 2018 ] GY CORRESPONDENT JAMMU, SEP. 18 Division Bench of State High Court Comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur directed Union of India to file an affidavit indicating therein various schemes and the funds; funds allocation relating to solid waste management as well as the specific purposes for which the same have to be utilized. DB also directed Union of India to disclose as to what have been the funds which have been made available to the State of Jammu and Kashmir for several purposes towards the Solid Waste Management for the last five Years. DB also directed that a meeting be convened by the Chief Secretary of the State of Jammu and Kashmir with all stake holders and all the issues relating to Solid Waste Management may be examined and place a firm action plan before this Court within six weeks from today. DB also said Faiz Ahmad Bakshi, Convenor, Environmental Policy Group Srinagar, Syed Nassarullah Shah, Chairperson of the Legal Committee of the petitioners and Mr. Raja Muzaffar Bhat may be permitted to make a presentation before the Chief Secretary to enable decision making. DB also directed Commissioner, Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Srinagar to inform this Court about the amount spent and the steps taken for the public awareness on Solid Waste Management. This significant direction has been passed by Division Bench in a matter relates to the Solid Waste Management in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Amongst the grievances laid by the petitioners, it is pointed out that not only is there non-segregation of the solid waste collected but also only 10% of the segregated waste has been taken to landfill sites and there is no planning about the effective utilization and conversion of the waste into productive uses. The petitioners have stated that the management of waste and waste utilization could be a valuable employment resource to the State. DB observed that a serious point is raised with regard to the failure of the respondents to manage bio medical wastes generated across the State. Failure to do so can prove to be a serious danger to public health. DB further observed that the petitioners have also pointed that the Central Government has pumped large amount of funds into the State for the purposes of Solid Waste Management under the Swachh Bharat Mission as well as Urban/Grameen measures with effect from 2nd of October, 2014 and that the funds are being sent by the Central Government for specific purposes including the dissemination of information and increasing public awareness on sanitation and waste issues and petitioners have also pointed out that the respondents are confining the projects under the Swachh Bharat Mission to only construction of toilets whereas the Solid Waste Management is an essential part thereof. DB further observed that grievance is also made that waste from the fruit and vegetable markets are being unceremoniously dumped in the Solid Waste Management site, even they would provide valuable source of manure generation. The same is resulting in a filthy stretch in the area and that the SKIMS, the premier medical facility of the City is located in close proximity to the said site. DB further observed that Our attention is drawn to an Affidavit dated 14.05.2018 of the State Government wherein it is stated that out of Rs. 12.11 Crores received from the Government of India for the purpose, only Rs. 1.22 Crores have been utilized and it would appear that no efforts have been or are being made towards the Solid Waste Management in the State. B.A.Dar, Senior Additional Advocate General told Division Bench that there is no requirement of framing of Bye Laws and that only policy is required. It is submitted that plan and action plan have been framed. This position is contested by the petitioners in PIL No. 5/2018. DB further observed that given the fact that the case is concerned with the Solid Waste Management in this mountainous State with limited land available for creation of landfill sites, it is essential that the issue with regard to solid waste are addressed on immediate priority and in fact, it would appear that reduction of garbage generation ought to be the focus of the respondents, inasmuch as, putting good land for utilization as landfill sites is certainly wastage of a valuable limited resource. DB further observed that Solid waste Management today is a scientific concept and modern technology is available within the country which would enable addressing the problem before it reaches unmanageable positions. In fact, Solid waste is being used even for fuel and energy generation apart from other uses.