Pune, 23rd July 2022: The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (mpcb) have submitted a report to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on July 5, 2022 that the Pune Municipal Corporation is liable to pay environmental damages of Rs 42 crores (42, 23, 71, 763/-).
A compensation/penalty of Rs 42 crores should be levied by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) for the delay in completion of bio-remediation/bio-mining of the waste dumped at Urli Devachi, Fursungi waste dumping sites and failure to rehabilitate these sites. This is suggested from the report.
The villagers of Urli Devachi, Fursungi have been fighting a court battle from many years regarding the mismanagement of the waste dumping site, pollution, stench, polluted ground water, health issues of the residents with the help of Adv. Asim Sarode.
During the hearing of Bhagwan Laxman Bhadale v. Commissioner, Pune Municipal Corporation on 06/01/2022, the Judge of the National Green Tribunal Justice Adarsh Kumar Goyal (Chairperson), Justice Sudhir Aggarwal (Judicial Member), Justice Brijesh Sethi (Judicial Member) and Dr. Nagin Nanda (Expert Member) had ordered that, The Central Pollution Control Board and the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board should visit the site of the waste depot at Uralidevachi Fursungi, collect information and prepare a report on the quantum of environmental damage done by the PMC and submit the information on how much fine to be imposed.
Central Pollution Control Board Scientist ‘E’ Regional Directorate Shashikant Lokhande and Maharashtra Pollution Control Board Sub Regional Officer, Pune Pratap Jagtap prepared a report in this regard a report has now been submitted to the National Green Tribunal seeking to recover Rs 42 Crores (42,23,71,763/-) environmental compensation from the Pune Municipal Corporation for its delay in solid waste management, which is causing unsanitary and unhealthy environmental conditions, in view of the upcoming municipal elections, such fine has revealed unsatisfactory sanitation work done by the party in power. The developments in NGT has also brought the contradiction exposed that talking about ‘Swacha Bharat Abhiyan’ and actually implementing cleanliness on ground are two separate things.
However, the Pune Municipal Corporation had requested to skip the period from February 2020 to January 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic., with total environmental damage assured at Rs. 32 Crores (32,62,52,931/-). Capital cost factor, average capital cost of retail for waste by-mining facility, it has been mentioned in the report that this amount has been charged considering other environmental issues and the petitioners’ lawyers Adv. Asim Sarode, Adv. Trunal Tonape, Adv. Ajit Deshpande and Adv. Akshay Desai said that they will object to this.
Dumping of waste is still going on at Fursungi and Uruli Devachi and the PMC has proposed that till September 2024 PMC will complete the capping of the waste site, Adv Asim Sarode said that asking for so much time itself shows the illegality and inefficiency of the PMC and private agencies appointed by them in handling, managing the solid waste in the city. This environmental penalty has been imposed on the Pune Municipal Corporation as the waste stored and accumulated here is seriously deteriorating the air quality and ground water pollution near the depot site.
The original application was filed before the National Green Tribunal in 2015 but due to wrong information submitted by the Pune Municipal Corporation, an Execution Application has been filed in 2021 before the West Zone Bench of the National Green Tribunal at Pune. Therefore a report will be submitted by the Central Pollution Control Board and the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board in the hearing to be held on July 27, 2022, before the bench of Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh and Expert Member Dr. Vijay Kulkarni.
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