Consider collaboration between deptts for disposal of waste at wetlands: NGT to J&K

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir to consider the suggestions made by the petitioner regarding collaboration between Wildlife department and Rural Sanitation department for utilization of funds under Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-Gramin) for waste disposal at wetlands.

The Tribunal has said in such a way funds available under the SBM-Gramin could be utilized to keep wetlands clean of the solid waste, on regular basis.

The Tribunal headed by Justice AK Goel has passed the directions on a plea by social activist Raja Muzaffar Bhat who had sought the NGT’s intervention in prevention of unscientific dumping of waste and encroachment of Hokersar wetland, Wular Lake and Kreentchoo-Chandhara wetland in Jammu and Kashmir.

The petitioner had also filed response to the report submitted by J&K government and had given suggestions for collaboration between the departments so that solid waste management around Hokersar wetland and adjoining villages of Soibugh, Sharifabad and Hajibagh could be taken up under a regular basis by utilizing funds available under the SBM-Gramin.

“There are enough funds available under Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin for such activities. But unfortunately the funds are not being utilized as no DPRs have been prepared by the government in the past,” Bhat told Greater Kashmir.

He said even the funds unspent under district plan can also be utilized for solid waste management in rural areas as per the SBM-Gramin guidelines. “But authorities at helm are unaware of all this due to which environment is suffering,” he said.

Bhat said he has also submitted before Tribunal the plea to appoint an “independent non-governmental expert as court Commissioner” to facilitate the “determination of truth behind the false statements being made by Municipal Committee Bandipora wherein they claimed that waste was not being dumped at Zalwan area.”