NEW DELHI: The National Green Tribunal Wednesday rapped the Haryana administration over unscientific dumping of municipal waste in Palwal district and warned that coercive measures may be taken against those responsible for the lapses and failures.
The tribunal said mere proposed steps are not a valid defence to the "criminal" failure of the authorities.
It said "there appears to be apathy and lack of realisation of duties in dealing with the matter without a sense of urgency.
" A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said there is the failure of the local and state authorities in discharging their statutory and constitutional obligation of ensuring clean environment and complying with binding directions of the tribunal.
The green panel directed the Additional Chief Secretary of Urban Development to ensure compliance of Municipal Solid Management Rules and warned of coercive measures, including direction for prosecution and stoppage of salary, in case of failure.
"Mere proposed steps are not a valid defence to the criminal failure of the authorities when stringent punishments are contemplated under the law for such failure as there is continued damage to public health by such failure.
"There appears to be apathy and lack of realisation of duties in dealing with the matter without a sense of urgency and allowing damage to the environment and public health.
It is disappointing to see such lapses and failures," the bench said.
The tribunal said that if there is any constraint of funds, the same can be recovered from the people contributing the waste but waste management has to be promptly ensured.
"The authorities are trustees of the people for this management and their incompetence should not result in damage to public health as is happening in the present case.
Their accountability has to be fixed.," it said.
The tribunal had earlier sought time-bound action plan with regard to scientific disposal of existing waste lying at the site.
The NGT was hearing a plea filed by Palwal-based SND Public School against illegal dumping of municipal waste by the municipal council on common land in village Meghpur in the district which is marked for grazing.
The plea has sought an immediate stay on dumping of waste and removal of dumped garbage from the common land in order to prevent pollution to the adjacent pond and groundwater.