After coming under the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) scanner for its failure to keep the tracks clean, the Indian Railways is has shifted the blame to the Delhi government. It said the government was not relocating slum clusters from its land despite directions of the green court.
The Railways has moved an application before a bench headed by NGT chairman Justice Swatanter Kumar, saying even though five of six slum clusters near railway tracks had been surveyed, the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) was yet to shift them.
Alleging non-cooperation by the Delhi government, it said that the ‘only permanent’ solution for maintaining sustained cleanliness on tracks is rehabilitation of slum dwellers.
The Railways said, “It is submitted that the DUSIB is constantly trying to defeat the laudable object and also orders of the tribunal by insisting upon the new policy which is not in existence and is only pending consideration.”
Two days back, the NGT had directed the Railways to strictly impose a fine of `5,000 on those defecating or throwing waste on tracks and act against them effectively.
The tribunal had criticised the Railways and other authorities for ‘definite negligence’ and ‘intentional lack of will’ to implement its order issued last year when it had imposed a fine of `5 lakh on the Railways for its failure to keep tracks and platforms in New Delhi clean.
The railways, in its plea, said, “As large amount of municipal solid waste is being generated continuously by slum clusters, little success has been achieved in maintaining sustained cleanliness near railway tracks on the stretches where large jhuggi jhopri (JJ) clusters are existing. The only permanent solution for maintaining sustained cleanliness on tracks is to get the slum clusters removed.” It also sought waiver of `5 lakh fine.
Regarding the green panel’s order of strict implementation of `5,000 fine on those defecating on the tracks or throwing waste there, it said it “continues to suffer despite having made efforts to contain the problem through imposition of the fine. The squatters have not paid the fine as yet.”