NGT slaps Rs34 lakh fine on Maan gram panchayat for illegal garbage dumping
The fine is issued for illegal dumping of garbage and environmental damage and directed it to remove the legacy waste within a span of one year
The Pune bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has slapped a fine of Rs34 lakhs on the Maan gram panchayat for illegal dumping of garbage and environmental damage and directed it to remove the legacy waste within a span of one year while paying a fine of Rs1 lakh every month till such time it removes the waste. The fines thus collected by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) will be used for restoration of the environmental damage caused by the garbage.
Petitioners Cliff Garden Condominium and others near IT Park, phase 3, Hinjewadi, had approached the NGT claiming illegal garbage dumping in areas under survey number 262, owned by the forest department. The current application prayed that the Maan gram panchayat be restrained from dumping garbage, waste material, sewage and sludge waste or any other polluting material adjacent to the applicant’s residential project.
The NGT Pune bench helmed by Dinesh Kumar Singh (JM) and Dr Vijay Kulkarni (EM) disposed of the original petition and stated, “The gram panchayat will take steps for setting up a municipal solid waste (MSW) processing plant at the earliest and that if it is not able to set up the same, the MPCB will calculate the environmental compensation based on the principles laid down by the principal bench of this tribunal in the original application, and the same will be realised from the gram panchayat. The said amount will be realised within a period of two months.”
“We have also noted that the MSW processing plant has not been set up by the gram panchayat, which is its responsibility and that we are not convinced with the defence being taken by the gram panchayat that the area is falling under the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) therefore, the MIDC should provide for the setting up of the MSW processing plant,” the NGT order stated.
The Maan gram panchayat had argued before the court that 68% area of the MIDC falls within the Maan village limit and that it is the responsibility of the MIDC to provide basic amenities including a MSW and sewage treatment plant (STP) to the township and the companies falling under its jurisdiction. As per the notification dated September 13, 2019, the MIDC is empowered to collect taxes of residential townships and companies. The answering respondent (Maan gram panchayat) in its letter dated December 31, 2018, had requested the MIDC to allot land for setting up STP and MSW disposal facilities but there was no effective response. The MIDC, in a letter dated March 14, 2022, had informed the answering respondent (Maan gram panchayat) that it would implement its own STP and MSW disposal facilities by using modern technologies.
The Maan gram panchayat had stopped dumping of garbage and had started removal of legacy waste on the NGT’s earlier directions, the NGT has now ordered a time-bound programme of removal of waste dumped by the gram panchayat in addition to stopping the burning of solid waste at the dumping site. The Pune collector has been directed to allot land to the gram panchayat for processing of municipal waste. The petitioners were represented by advocate Saurabh Kulkarni.