Sunday, April 5, 2020

JKSPCB goes tough, asks Udhampur admin to recover 1.39 Cr from UMC

Pallavi Sareen

Jammu, Jan 11: Jammu and Kashmir State Pollution Control Board which will become Pollution Control Committee from October 2020, in a first-of-its-kind decision has levied Environmental Compensation to the tune of Rs 1.39 Cr on CEO, Udhampur Municipal Council.

Udhampur Municipal Council has approached the Law department and is entrusting them to get them out of this predicament while J&K State Pollution Control Board has already issued directions to Deputy Commissioner Udhampur to recover the amount along with 12% interest for surpassing the deadline of deposition of compensation.

The Environmental Compensation was imposed on Udhampur Municipal Council for violating Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 as well as directions of the National Green Tribunal. This decision is first in the history of JKSPCB where such an enormous penalty has been imposed on a government body.

CEO, Municipal Council Udhampur was given a time period of 45 days to deposit the amount. However, as the time lapsed, interest of 12% has also accrued on the amount. JKSPCB while exercising powers vested in it under Section 5 of Environment (Protection) Act 1986 directed DC Udhampur to collect the principal amount as well as the interest as arrears of Land Revenue and deposit it to the Board immediately.

“We applied for a review petition on the recommendation of the Law Department. And we will be pursuing the same course as recommended by the Law Department. We have also taken short-term as well as long-term measures to comply with the Solid Waste Management Rules now,” said Santosh Kotwal, CEO Udhampur Municipal Council.

“They have not paid the penalty as yet but we have additionally levied a 12% interest on Udhampur Municipal Council so they cannot delay it for long,” said Suresh Chugh, Chairman, JKSPCB.

Member Secretary, JKSPCB B.M Sharma told Straight Line that considering the violation of Solid Waste Management Rules in Jammu, Jammu Municipal Corporation might be next as the process to have a huge amount of environmental compensation imposed on them is underway.

Furthermore, since Jammu and Kashmir was reorganised into a Union Territory on October 31st 2019, JKSPCB would have become a Pollution Contol Committee to be directly controlled by Central Pollution Control Board. However, because of a government order under Removal of Difficulties Act, JKSPCB will continue to function as a State Pollution Control Board up until October 2020 after which it will be reconstituted as a Pollution Control Committee.

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