Vilappilsala issue: HC refers PIL to Green Tribunal - The New Indian Express

Vilappilsala issue: HC refers PIL to Green Tribunal

Published: 30th October 2013 09:04 AM

Last Updated: 30th October 2013 03:42 PM

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday referred the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed in 2012 seeking to stop the operation of the municipal solid waste treatment plant at Vilappil owing to pollution to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Bench at Chennai.

 A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice A M Saffique passed the order on a petition filed by one Karmachandran of Vilappil and two others against the functioning of the plant.

 The Bench held that since the petition touched on environmental issues on account of functioning of the Vilappilsala plant, the registry of the High Court was directed to transfer the records of the case to the National Green Tribunal Bench at Chennai.

 Meanwhile, the Bench also held that since the PIL filed by the residents of Vilappil was referred to the NGT at Chennai, no adjudication in the petition filed by Thiruvananthapuram Corporation seeking police protection for the functioning of the plant could be done, unless a decision of NGT resolves the environmental issues after hearing the parties. Hence, the Court adjourned the hearing of the police protection case to after three months.

 The residents of Vilappil had submitted that the City Corporation has collected heaps of solid waste generated from its area and dumped them in the Vilappilsala plant. The unscientific dumping of waste causing air and water pollution was also polluting the Karamana river, on which the residents of five panchayats and six wards in Thiruvananthapuram Corporation depend for potable water. The pollution was also causing skin diseases and other undiagnosed ailments to the residents.

 Hence, the petitioners sought a directive to the Corporation to not engage in any construction in the properties within the limits of Vilappil before obtaining the required permit as per the provisions of Panchayati Raj Act and Kerala Panchayat Building Rules. They also sought a directive to the state to stop the operation of the plant since the Corporation has not obtained the required licence from Vilappil panchayat.

 The Pollution Control Board, in a statement, pointed out that the City Corporation had started the garbage processing plant at Vilappil in the year 2000. Strict measures are needed to maintain the general hygienic condition of the area. The waste should be segregated at source and the biodegradable waste should be transported to the processing plant, the Board said. Periodical churning of windrows is effective for speedy composting of biodegradable waste. Hence, the present operation by using JCB may be replaced with churner, the Board said.

 The PCB also said that the plastic wastes should be recycled and should not be disposed of at the plant. Also, a buffer zone of 100 m should be provided around the periphery of the plant. The Board also observed that leachate is flowing from the landfill. The leachate is now collected in temporary ponds and disposed of after addition of alum, lime and bleaching powder. The temporary measures are inadequate to handle leachate and it flows into the nearby stream and reaches the Karamana river through Meenampally canal, causing river pollution, PCB said.

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