CHENNAI: Furious that the Pallavaram Municipality completed 90 per cent of work on a bio-methanation plant allegedly being built on Putheri Lake without even filing an application for consent from Pollution Control Board, the Southern Bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT) warned on Monday to recover the project cost from the Municipal Commissioner’s salary.
“We cannot allow the lakes to be encroached upon. The municipality didn’t even bother to file the application for the consent from the board and almost completed the project, which is unacceptable. We can order demolition of the structure and recover the taxpayer’s money spent so far from the officials, including the commissioner, for overlooking the norms,” the Bench said in the open court.
Charles Rodriquez, Joint Environmental Engineer, TNPCB, said in the affidavit submitted before the Bench that Kancheepuram district environmental engineer has inspected the site and acknowledged that the municipality had completed 90 per cent of the bio-methanation plant, which aims to treat five tonnes of highly perishable garbage such as vegetable and food waste per day to produce methane gas enough to light up 850 street-lights.
The Pollution Control Board has made available online filing of application under the provisions of the Water and Air Acts. However, the Pallavaram municipality has not yet filed any application for the establishment of the bio-methanation plant. In response, the NGT has questioned the TNPCB why it didn’t initiate any action against the officials of the municipality.
Meanwhile, the counsel for the municipality contended the site on which the bio- methanation plant was being built was classified as ‘kalam poromboke’ in the survey records. However, no records were submitted to substantiate the claim.
Justice Jyothimani has instructed the municipality to submit the original revenue records at the next hearing, failing which he threatened to pass adverse orders. The matter has been posted for March 9.