COLONY ALSO QUESTIONS CLEANEST ULB AWARD TO DMC
In a major development, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Eastern Zone bench, Kolkata has given four weeks’ time to the State government, Dimapur Municipal Council(DMC), Deputy Commissioner Dimapur and Nagaland Pollution Control Board(NPCB) to respond to a petition filed by Sunrise Colony, Burma Camp Dimapur in connection with dumping of solid waste and other wastes at the dumping site near the colony.
After hearing the petition on July 1, through video conferencing, NGT bench justice B. Amit Sthalekar (Judicial Member) and expert member Saibal Dasgupta through an order, stated that the matter required consideration and therefore, directed the respondents to file para-wise reply within four weeks and listed the next date of hearing on August 2, 2022.
The applicant(Sunrise Colony), alleged that dumping solid waste and other wastes at the dumping site was in complete violation of the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.
It alleged that the dumping site was ill-maintained and located in the low-lying area which percolates and contaminates the ground water resources through leaching, which has direct effect on the life and health of the residents of the area including flora and fauna.
The applicant also alleged that plastic, rubber and other toxic materialswere being burnt openly leading to toxic smell in the air.
Further, it also pointed out that the dumping site was less than 30 meters away from the Dhansiri River and located about 40-50 meters from the human habitation, thus violating the siting criteria for selection of dumping site in accordance with the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.
The applicant also prayed that the DMC be directed to re-locate the dump site to a more appropriate place in conformity with the environmental norms.
In response, the Bench noted that the respondents shall also consider this plea of the applicant in their reply.
In this regard, the bench directed DC Dimapur, CEO, DMC and chairman NPCB to also file their personal affidavits by the next date of listing.
It may be mentioned that the Sunrise Colony had earlier filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Gauhati High Court, Kohima bench in 2017 after which the court had maintained that the matter fell under the jurisdiction of the NGT as per Sec. 14 and Schedule 1 of the NGT Act, 2010.
Colony shocked over mishandling of waste management
In a press note, Sunrise colony council chairman John Zeliang and secretary Athemphu Kamei expressed shock at the manner in which the Urban Development and Municipal Affairs Department(UD&MAD) was handling and overseeing the waste management system in Dimapur.
They said that despite knowing the bitter reality that DMC was running the dumping ground by violating the Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules 2000 and the Solid Waste Management Rules 2016, DMC was adjudged as one of the cleanest ULBs in the first category as announced on June 28, 2022.
They opined that waste management system meant any facility or equipment used in, and any operations carried out for, the management of waste including the collection, handling, transportation, storage, processing or disposal of waste, and may include one or more waste disposal sites.
Further, the colony asked the department to take cue from the statement of the advisor Urban Development and Municipal Affairs, who reportedly stated in the award function that the common practice of disposal of waste in Nagaland was by collecting of waste and dumping at the dumping site without any treatment or segregation posing, a major environmental concern especially single use-plastic items.
The council wondered whether the award was given byexamining and inspecting the waste management from source to disposal and its management at dumpsite.
It questioned as to how municipal council, without even a garbage truck, was adjudged to have the best waste management system in place?
It alleged that the award to a violator– Dimapur Municipal Council, which was presented in the presences of the chief minister, indicated that the department was still “in ignorant mode or playing safe regarding the provisions of the Solid Waste Management Rules,2016”.
The council was of the view thatthe department officials were not serious in discharging their obligation to take effective steps to address such serious issue and to take remedial steps to compel DMCto strictly follow the Rules of 2016.