KOCHI: In a major jolt to the Kochi Corporation, the south bench of the National Green Tribunal slapped a fine of Rs 1 crore on the civic body for the delay in complying with the NGT’s order to construct a waste treatment plant at Brahmapuram.
As per the order, the Corporation has to deposit Rs 50 lakh equally to the State Pollution Control Board and Central Pollution Board. It also directed the civic body to deposit a performance guarantee of Rs 3 crore with the state PCB in 15 days. Besides, the Corporation has to complete the construction of the plant within six months.
“If the Corporation fails to materialise the plant within six months, it has to pay a fine of `2 lakh for every day’s delay,” says the order.The NGT’s order came following the visit of an advocate’s commission in September 2016 to the Brahmapuram plant to review the waste segregation process. Based on that, the NGT issued an order to set up a plant to prevent the wastewater entering Kadambrayar River from the yard.
The commission had also found plastic waste dumped in the open without any scientific treatment.The foul smell from the plant has become a headache to local residents. During the visit of PCB officials in 2015 and 2016 to the plant, it was also found the Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules 2000 were not maintained properly while allocating space for the disposal and treatment of solid waste.
Though the Corporation had allocated Rs 1.27 crore based on the DPR prepared by the Green Method Engineering Pvt Ltd company, it failed to start the project in the 2016-17 financial year. Even though the Corporation included the project in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 budgets as a multi-year project, it remained in the paper.
Even the Corporation turned a blind eye to the NGT’s letter which asked the local body to submit a report on the progress of the plant. The lack of clearance from the PCB also came as a jolt to the civic body.
As per the NGT order, the Corporation can only approach the Supreme Court. Within 30 days the review petition has to be filed.
“The procedures to construct a waste-to-energy plant has been initiated already. We are waiting for the clearance from the government. Whenever we get the clearance, we will start the construction work. The District Collector is also appointed as a liaison officer to get the clearance from the agency. We are also planning to file a review petition before the Supreme Court after taking a legal opinion in this regard,” said Mayor Soumini Jain.