The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has slapped a hefty fine of ₹1 crore on the Kochi Corporation for failing to comply with the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 on the Brahmapuram campus of its solid waste treatment plant. The failure of the civic body to establish a unit for the treatment of leachate at the plant too invited the wrath of the tribunal.
The tribunal ordered that one half of the fine amount should be deposited with the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) and the other half with the Central Pollution Control Board.
In addition to the fine, the Corporation should deposit a performance guarantee of ₹3 crore with the KSPCB within a period of 15 days of the order. If the local body fails to maintain the timeline for the completion of the unit, the performance guarantee amount will be forfeited. The delay will invite an additional penalty of ₹2 lakh per day until the completion of the project, a bench consisting of Judicial Member S.P. Wangdi and Expert Member Nagin Nanda ordered.
The panel noted that “contaminated effluent was holding in the land area near the leachate collection area which was suspected to have surfaced due to settlement of floor. No interest had been shown by the respondent, Kochi Municipal Corporation, to provide treatment of the leachate.”
The NGT pointed out that there were “other serious inadequacies that had led the Kochi Municipal Corporation to submit a proposal for leachate treatment based on biological process, and had applied for renewal for authorisation of the Board. This proposal, however, was found to be inadequate.”
Referring to a report filed by the Environmental Engineer of the KSPCB, the tribunal said it clearly reflected that the Kochi Corporation “failed to act in terms of the recommendations of the Monitoring Committee appointed by the Kerala High Court. The solid waste treatment and disposal facility of Kochi Municipal Corporation was found to be operating in violation of the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 in as much as leachate from the processing farm was being discharged with the stormwater drain constructed around the proposed vermi-composting building that drains into the Kadambrayar River.”
Referring to the report of the Advocate Commissioner appointed by the NGT, who visited the site earlier, it noted that the “dumping yard was found to be used unscientifically causing severe hardship to the people and deleterious to the environment.”
The report of the Advocate Commissioner revealed the “alarming conditions prevailing at the site in as much as there was gross violation of the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 as well as various directions issued by the tribunal from time to time. The record is replete with manifestation of total lack of interest and casual approach on the part of the Municipal Corporation,” the panel said.
Source: The Hindu