Srinagar, Apr 19: In a landmark order to address the growing menace of dumping of municipal solid waste on the banks of Poonch river, the four member bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has sought a detailed report & remedial measures taken to address this issue from District Magistrate Poonch and J&K Pollution Control Committee (PCC).
The NGT order comes in wake of a petition moved by Srinagar based activist and Chairman J&K RTI Movement Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat.
The NGT has also sought a compliance report from PCC in response to its order dated 20.10.2022 in the case no (OA-606) of 2018 wherein solid as well as liquid waste management cases are to be monitored by NGT on the orders of the Supreme Court of India dated 02.09.2014 in the case of Almitra H. Patel vs. Union of India & Others.
The 4 -Member bench of the National Green Tribunal headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel (Chairman NGT) has sought the details of remedial measures taken to address the menace of dumping of solid waste by Municipal Council Poonch near the Poonch river. J&K Pollution Control Committee (PCC) has been designated as the Nodal Agency for coordination and compliance of NGT orders. The matter was listed before NGT on April 13th this month and the corrected order in this case was issued on Wednesday
The NGT order dated April 13th reads: “Grievance in this application is against unscientific dumping of solid waste and bio-medical waste in the area falling between Sher-e-Kashmir Bridge (NG 144A) and the confluence of Poonch River and Belar Nala, near Poonch Town, Jammu & Kashmir. Such dumping of waste has a harmful impact on river Poonch which is a source of drinking water in the area. The Authorities have failed to take remedial action inspite of representations. Let the J&K PCC and District Magistrate, Poonch furnish a joint report in the matter after verifying facts and take remedial action within two months. The J&K PCC will be the nodal agency for coordination and compliance. The report may mention the steps taken to prevent such dumping and management of solid waste and bio-medical waste in the area. The Committee may look into the order of this Tribunal dated 20.10.2022 in O.A. No. 606/2018 and give compliance status with reference thereto in respect of the area in question.”
The NGT has given two months time to the District Magistrate Poonch and the J&K Pollution Control Committee (PCC) to file their response. The matter will be listed for hearing on July 12th 2023. “I was forced to move to NGT as the District Administration Poonch and Govt of J&K failed to address this menace. For the last 7 years I have been requesting the Govt to address the menace of dumping of municipal solid waste near Poonch river. I wrote several articles in local media plus sent written representations to Govt and DC Poonch but they didn’t even give me the acknowledgement of my letter. Even the local Members of the District Development Council also wrote to the District Administration to address the issue but authorities failed to act. I am sure the NGT order will help to clear the waste from the banks of Poonch river which is source of drinking water for thousands of people,” said Dr Raja Muzaffar.