Jammu: The government Wednesday constituted the Union Territory Level Committee and District Level Committees for monitoring the implementation of Bio-Medical Waste (BMW) Rules, 2016 in Jammu and Kashmir.
The five-member UT level panel will be free to co-opt any other experts or agency for its assistance and will meet within two weeks in the first instance and thereafter once in a month, said a General Administration Department (GAD) order referring to the judgment of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in M A No.98/2022 in OA No. 180/2021 titled Mukul Kumar Vs State of UP and Others.
The Principal bench of NGT headed by its chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel in its order on January 23, 2023 had directed for the constitution of such committees for proper monitoring to “work in tandem with Committee already constituted, if any.”
NGT had observed that there were huge gaps in compliance with statutory Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules and thus a remedial action needed to be planned. It had stated that state or UT Pollution Control Boards could further “reduce gaps to ensure better compliance.”
The petitioners had sought for remedial action against non-compliance of Bio-Medical Waste (BMW) Rules, 2016, which included the issue of compliance of Guidelines for handling and treatment and disposal of waste generated during treatment/diagnosis/quarantine of Covid-19 patients, which was more prominent during COVID.
J&K Union Territory Level Committee will have Administrative Secretary Health and Medical Education department as its chairman while Director, Ecology, Environment and Remote Sensing, J&K; a representative each of Housing and Urban Development Department and DMRRR (not below the rank of Additional Secretary) and the member secretary, J&K Pollution Control Board will be its members.
The Member Secretary, J&K Pollution Control Board will act as nodal agency for coordination and compliance.
District level committees will have the Deputy Commissioner concerned as chairman and the Principal Government Medical College or other reputed Medical College in the area; a representative of SSP concerned; Chief Medical Officer and Regional Officer J&K Pollution Control Board will be its members.
The Regional Officer, J&K Pollution Control Board will act as nodal agency for coordination and compliance. The committees will be free to co-opt any other experts or agency for its assistance. The Committees will meet within two weeks in the first instance and thereafter once in a fortnight initially till the situation improves and at longer intervals thereafter as may be found necessary.
After perusal of the status report of the Central Monitoring Committee of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change and the data submitted by 23 states and UTs, the NGT in its order on January 23 had noted that there were huge gaps in compliance of environmental norms to the detriment of environment and public health.
Putting major responsibility on the DMs, NGT had noted that the District Magistrates would have to provide leadership on the subject at grass-root level. It had also suggested trainings to the bureaucrats, police officers and public prosecutors on this subject.
“We are not sure whether the subject is part of training imparted in academies for probationers and in-house officers such as LBS National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie, IIPA, New Delhi and other State Academies. It may be desirable that the need for such training is considered. National Judicial Academy at Bhopal has included the subject as part of its training to judicial officers. On that pattern, with such further modifications as found necessary, the syllabus of Administrative Training Institutes may need to include the subject,” NGT had suggested.
It had asked the Secretary, DoPT, Government of India and Chief Secretaries of all States and UTs to consider this aspect in coordination with the Directors of the Academies in question.
“Such training programs may include not only academic discussion but also undertaking field visits to places where successful environmental compliance models exist. In fact such training may be required in Police Academies and Public Prosecutors also. In the first instance, training may be imparted to all existing District Magistrates and thereafter to others who may have potential to work as District Magistrates or other positions where they may have to deal with such issues,” NGT had directed.
The Secretary, DoPT, Government of India and Chief Secretaries of all States and UTs had been asked to consider the issue and file their respective action taken reports with the Tribunal within two months. March 23, 2023 is the deadline for filing an action taken report with the Tribunal.