DB shocked over figure presented by SPCB, issues directions
Jammu Tawi, April 29
A Division Bench of State High Court Comprising Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Janak Raj Kotwal after hearing both the sides observed that it is a shocking figure that as on today, only 5 million liters per day of sewage is being treated out of the 100 million litres of sewage generated. In other words, 95 million litres (95%) of sewage is flowing, untreated into the river Tawi and polluting the same.
In a Public Interest Litigation filed by Adv Rajinder Singh Jamwal that has highlighted the poor working of State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) especially there is hardly any arrangement for testing the quality of air. The petition pointed out that in the absence of pollution check at government laboratory level most of the industrial units have seek help from private laboratories for getting the sample tested which is in violation of law because no authenticity has been attached to these reports.
When the matter came-up for hearing, Division Bench observed that the compliance report handed over by the Jammu & Kashmir State Pollution Control Board, which has been given in the form of affidavit, affirmed by Sameer Bharti, Member Secretary, J&K State Pollution Control Board, is taken on record and further observed that We had required information on several issues in terms of our previous order dated April 18, 2017.
DB further observed that ” we had required details for the re-tendering that was to be undertaken. From the compliance report, it is evident that a proposal has been submitted by the Board to the Central Pollution Control Board for setting up 13 new Ambient Air Monitoring Stations in Jammu Division and directed that Central Pollution Control Board shall file a status report with regard to the progress in the said proposal.
DB further observed that Central Pollution Control Board shall also indicate the status of the proposal, which has been sent to it under the National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Network and Continuous Automatic Air Quality Monitoring Stations. The further status of the tender with regard to the Laboratory, Air Laboratory Equipment and progress made in the fresh tender shall also be indicated by the J&K State Pollution Control Board.
DB further observed that it has been indicated in the compliance report and on April 18, 2017 this court observed that vehicles are the major contributors of air pollution in Jammu city. It is, therefore, important to take action on two fronts. The first front would be to ensure that the vehicles are compliant with the standard prescribed. The Pollution Control Board with the assistance of Traffic Police checks vehicles and takes action against defaulters under the Motor Vehicles Act. However, we are informed that the Petrol Stations, which issued the pollution control certificates, are not seriously complying with the requirements prior to the issuance of such certificates, Upon this Division Bench arrayed IG Traffic as respondent and Sr. AAG, WS Nargal accepted notice on behalf of IG Traffic Jammu.
Division Bench directed IG Traffic Jammu to carry out checks and to ensure that the authorized service stations, which issue pollution control certificates to vehicles, do so after fulfilling all the necessary criteria.
Division Bench also arrayed Transport Commissioner as respondent, Sr. AAG Seema Shekhar accepts notice on behalf of Transport Commissioner and Division Bench directed Transport Commissioner shall ensure that the pollution control certificates, which are issued by the authorized service stations, are done so only after the full procedure for satisfying themselves that the vehicles are non polluting. This shall be strictly followed.
DB also directed IG Traffic to shall inform this Court as to whether there is a full-fledged traffic plan in place for the Jammu city. In case there is none, then such a plan needs to be drawn up to ensure free flow of traffic. This is necessary for at least two reasons. The first being that when there is idle traffic, a lot of fuel is used up, which, because there is no movement of the traffic, is a waste of a valuable natural resource. The second reason being that idling traffic adds to the air pollution in a great measure. Apart from this, when there is no free flow of traffic, the public is put to great distress and there is a huge wastage of time. For all these reasons, and there are several other reasons, a comprehensive traffic management plan, which ensures free flow of traffic, should be in place and should be implemented.
In so far as the water pollution is concerned, DB noted on the previous occasion that the quality of water of the river Tawi at the exit point from the city is seriously degraded compared to the quality of the water at the entry point of the city. This is primarily due to discharge of untreated sewage into the river Tawi and are informed that three Sewage Treatment Plants have been set up or are under construction at Bhagwati Nagar. One Sewage Treatment Plant has a capacity of 10 million litres per day, but the same is underutilized and in our estimate approximately 5 million litres per day is treated in this Sewage Treatment Plant. There is another Sewage Treatment Plant having a capacity of 30 million litres per day, but this is not operational. The third STP at Bhagwati Nagar having a capacity of 27 million litres per day is under construction. On a rough estimate, in the old city area of Jammu, approximately 100 million litres per day of sewage is generated. From these figures, it is evident that the STPs, which have been constructed and under construction would only account, when fully operational for 67 million litres per day of sewage, which is far below the extent of sewage generated per day. Therefore, more STPs need to be planned and set up for the old city area.
DB observed that this is another shocking figure is that as on today, only 5 million liters per day of sewage is being treated out of the 100 million litres of sewage generated. In other words, 95 million litres (95%) of sewage is flowing, untreated into the river Tawi and polluting the same and the rest of the city across the river Tawi has no STP and we do not even know the figures of the amount of sewage which is generated per day in those parts of the city. Consequently, Upon this Division Bench arrayed Commissioner/Secretary to Government of J&K, Housing & Urban Development Department, as respondent and directed Sr. AAG Seema to file a status report indicating as to what plans are in place for treatment of sewage in the rest of the city across the river Tawi. The Status report be submitted before the next date of hearing.
Division Bench further observed that “we are also informed that illegal dumping of municipal solid waste is also one of the major sources of pollution of the river Tawi. Dr. Yash Paul, Scientist-B, Head Labs Jammu & State Board Analyst, is present in Court and he informs us that there are various sites where such illegal dumping takes place. They include Peerkho, Pacci Dhaki, Sher-e-Kashmir Bridge and Bhagwati Nagar.
DB further observed that this raises the concern with regard to the manner in which municipal solid waste is to be dealt with by the Jammu Municipal Corporation and arrayed Commissioner, Jammu Municipal Corporation, and issued notice and said that notice shall go to Mr. S. S. Nanda, Sr. Addl. AG, who is the standing counsel for the said Corporation. Seema Sheikhar is present and she states that a copy of this order shall be provided to Mr. Nanda, who shall take action accordingly.
DB further directed that Commissioner, Jammu Municipal Corporation, is required to file a status report with regard to the management of Municipal Solid Waste. In particular, the status report shall indicate as to whether there are any plans for setting up any dumping sites or, more importantly, waste-to-energy plants or recycling plants for the disposal of municipal solid waste in a scientific and productive manner. The said status report be filed before the next date. JNF