Srinagar: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh sought to know what “practical steps” had been taken by the authorities for dealing with solid waste in Jammu and Kashmir.
In an order passed on Wednesday in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), a division bench of Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey and Justice Moksha Khajuria Kazmi directed the Commissioners of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) and Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) to inform it regarding the steps taken for implementation of the “action plan” for the management of solid waste in their respective jurisdictions within three weeks.
Besides these authorities, the court directed the Director of Urban Local Bodies, Srinagar and Jammu as well as the Director of Rural Development Department, Srinagar and Jammu to furnish the details about the action plan.
The court also directed the Commissioner Secretary Health and Medical Education Department to file an affidavit indicating the steps taken for segregation, collection, and transportation of solid and medical waste from the J&K hospitals.
It also asked the Deputy Solicitor General of India (DSGI), Tahir Majid Shamsi to file a response to the release of funds by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India for solid waste management in J&K by November 10.
The court passed a slew of directions after perusing an affidavit filed by the Principal Secretary to the Government, Housing and Urban Development Department in compliance with its order issued on August 12 this year.
“We feel that more practical steps are required to be taken by the concerned authorities in the J&K government for dealing with the process of solid waste management since the contents of the affidavit appear to be confined to paperwork only at this stage,” the bench said.
The court observed that the affidavit provides the scheme of disposal of municipal solid waste in terms of the Solid Waste Management Rules and Bye-Laws saying, “The Principal Secretary has stated that various authorities have undertaken collection, segregation, storage, transportation, and disposal of municipal solid waste.”
The affidavit also refers to Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 notified on April 8, 2016, by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India which assigns the duty and responsibility to various Ministries of Central Government and State Government, Central Pollution Control Board and State Pollution Control Boards, District Magistrates, local authorities, village panchayats, industrial units, and waste general units.
It also stated that the state policy and Solid Waste Management Strategy, 2017, stands notified on January 25, 2018, with direction to the Director, Urban Local Bodies, J&K to circulate the policy among the Chief Executive Officer, Executive Officers of the municipal committees, councils for implementation of and furnish monthly compliance report to the Administrative Department.