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Shift waste dumping site or we close it: NGT to authorities

By Staff Reporter
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GUWAHATI, March 1 - The Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has made it clear in its latest order that if an alternative place is not identified in the next meeting of the committee set up by the Assam government on the issue of shifting the Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) dumping ground from its existing site at Pub Boragaon, on the Deepor Beel, the MSW plant shall be directed to be closed in addition to imposition of exemplary penalty.

On the rail track running through the wetland that interfered with the elephant corridor, the NGT Principal Bench has laid emphasis on the fact that the temporary measures like reducing the speed of the trains, which was earlier suggested by it, should be adopted. The timing of the trains at the level crossings on the rail track running through the Deepor Beel and falling in the elephant corridor area, be synchronized accordingly, it said.

The NGT has said one of the temporary measures is to reduce the speed of the trains while crossing the elephant corridor area. But this proposal has not appeared to have been acted upon by the Railways expressing practical difficulties as set out in paragraph 5 of their last affidavit. The NGT said in its latest order, "We are unable to accept such stand (of the Railways)."

The NGT order issued on February 26, 2018, in connection with the Original Application No. 472/2018 (EZ) {Earlier Original Application No. 19/2014 (EZ)} Rohit Choudhury versus Union of India and Others, also maintained that the second meeting of the above committee is to be held without fail within a period of one month and the alternative site for the MSW Plant finalised. The compliance report in this respect should also be filed before the next date, it said. It has fixed April 29, 2019, as the next date for further orders in this case.

The Tribunal is of the view that so far as the shifting of the MSW plant is concerned, enough time has been granted to the State. It had granted Dispur a period of two months on December 18, 2018, for shifting the MSW plant situated on the Deepor Beel.

Earlier, in this case, the State government's counsel stated before the Tribunal that a committee was constituted for the relocation of the plant. The first meeting of this committee was held on March 14, 2018. The State government's counsel submitted that the matter was likely to be resolved in the next meeting of the committee.

On the rail track running through the Deepor Beel, the Tribunal was informed by the counsel for the Railways that the speed limit prescriptions had been adopted in the States of Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand by installing 'Thermal and Seismic Sensors' on the rail tracks.

Reference was also made to the case of Shakti Prasad Nayak versus Union of India and Others, in which the Supreme Court directed the installation of 'Speed Radar Guns' to monitor the speed of trains and check cases of over-speeding.

In view of all these, the NGT said the authorities shall consider the above aspects and it is optimistic that a positive view would be taken in the light of these developments by the Railways. It has asked the Railways to file a report on its observations made on February 26, 2018.

In this respect, the NGT has made an important observation by saying, "� the earth is not for humans alone. All creatures, including the wild animals, have a sacred right. Economic consideration no doubt is important for development, but, it should not be at the cost of ecology, biodiversity and the environment. We may refer to the case of Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action vs. Union of India and Others in this regard.�

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Shift waste dumping site or we close it: NGT to authorities

GUWAHATI, March 1 - The Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has made it clear in its latest order that if an alternative place is not identified in the next meeting of the committee set up by the Assam government on the issue of shifting the Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) dumping ground from its existing site at Pub Boragaon, on the Deepor Beel, the MSW plant shall be directed to be closed in addition to imposition of exemplary penalty.

On the rail track running through the wetland that interfered with the elephant corridor, the NGT Principal Bench has laid emphasis on the fact that the temporary measures like reducing the speed of the trains, which was earlier suggested by it, should be adopted. The timing of the trains at the level crossings on the rail track running through the Deepor Beel and falling in the elephant corridor area, be synchronized accordingly, it said.

The NGT has said one of the temporary measures is to reduce the speed of the trains while crossing the elephant corridor area. But this proposal has not appeared to have been acted upon by the Railways expressing practical difficulties as set out in paragraph 5 of their last affidavit. The NGT said in its latest order, "We are unable to accept such stand (of the Railways)."

The NGT order issued on February 26, 2018, in connection with the Original Application No. 472/2018 (EZ) {Earlier Original Application No. 19/2014 (EZ)} Rohit Choudhury versus Union of India and Others, also maintained that the second meeting of the above committee is to be held without fail within a period of one month and the alternative site for the MSW Plant finalised. The compliance report in this respect should also be filed before the next date, it said. It has fixed April 29, 2019, as the next date for further orders in this case.

The Tribunal is of the view that so far as the shifting of the MSW plant is concerned, enough time has been granted to the State. It had granted Dispur a period of two months on December 18, 2018, for shifting the MSW plant situated on the Deepor Beel.

Earlier, in this case, the State government's counsel stated before the Tribunal that a committee was constituted for the relocation of the plant. The first meeting of this committee was held on March 14, 2018. The State government's counsel submitted that the matter was likely to be resolved in the next meeting of the committee.

On the rail track running through the Deepor Beel, the Tribunal was informed by the counsel for the Railways that the speed limit prescriptions had been adopted in the States of Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand by installing 'Thermal and Seismic Sensors' on the rail tracks.

Reference was also made to the case of Shakti Prasad Nayak versus Union of India and Others, in which the Supreme Court directed the installation of 'Speed Radar Guns' to monitor the speed of trains and check cases of over-speeding.

In view of all these, the NGT said the authorities shall consider the above aspects and it is optimistic that a positive view would be taken in the light of these developments by the Railways. It has asked the Railways to file a report on its observations made on February 26, 2018.

In this respect, the NGT has made an important observation by saying, "� the earth is not for humans alone. All creatures, including the wild animals, have a sacred right. Economic consideration no doubt is important for development, but, it should not be at the cost of ecology, biodiversity and the environment. We may refer to the case of Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action vs. Union of India and Others in this regard.�