The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed for a joint inspection of a site abutting a wildlife sanctuary, where the Panchkula Municipal Corporation in Haryana has allegedly continued to dump municipal solid waste even when solid waste management (SWM) plant was sanctioned there.
The NGT directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Haryana government to examine the dumping of municipal waste on the land allotted for the SWM plant, hardly 140 meters away from the Khol-Hai-Raitan Wildlife Sanctuary.
The NGT’s directive came in wake of a petitioner’s allegation that the Corporation has continued to dump all kinds of waste at the project site in violation of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) permission for the SWM plant. The applicant also submitted before the tribunal that safeguards are necessary to avoid leachate polluting the groundwater.
The tribunal was directed to form the joint panel comprising officials from the CPCB, Haryana Pollution Control Board, and the state wildlife department to examine the site with the wildlife department being the nodal agency for coordination and compliances.
The Tribunal has sought a comprehensive report from the authorities concerned about the negative impact of the landfill on the groundwater in its surroundings, especially the Jhuriwala village in Panchkula district of Haryana.
“The committee may hold its first meeting within 15 days, undertake a visit to the site, interact with stakeholders and take remedial action in the exercise of their statutory powers following due process of law. It would be open to conduct meetings online, except the site visit,” said the principal bench of NGT Chairman Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel in his order on Monday (September 20).
The Tribunal was informed that the NBWL had given clearance for the dumping of waste at the Jhuriwala site on the grounds that the landfill for inert waste will be based on the standard design and will be covered.
The approval was granted on the condition that a water harvesting structure will be set up at the sanctuary for providing sustained water and fodder to the wildlife within the permitted area and the cost will be borne by the project proponent.
However, neither the proposed water harvesting structure was set up nor the steps were taken for composting of municipal solid waste.
“We are of the opinion that the issue needs to be first considered by a joint committee of statutory regulators CPCB, HPCB, and Chief Wildlife Warden, Haryana,” said the NGT.