Thursday, August 11, 2022

Overdue censure

In a significant development, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on July 1,2022 has directed the state government, DC Dimapur, Dimapur Municipal Council (DMC) and Nagaland Pollution Control Board (NPCB) to reply para-wise to the issues raised in the petition before it by the Sunrise Colony Burma Camp Dimapur. The colony had earlier filed its original application in 2017 with the Gauhati High Court Kohima Bench. After filing of affidavits by the respondents, the matter was listed for hearing on March 14 ,2022 . While the case was being heard, the state government counsel raised the maintainability of the petition since the subject under the PIL fell under the jurisdiction of the National Green Tribunal. The next day on March 15,2002 the High Court Bench then ruled that the Colony was free to take the case with the NGT. When the matter was heard on July 1, the NGT, directed the state government, DC Dimapur, DMC and NPCB to file their responses para-wise to issues raised by the Sunrise Colony. According to information given by the litigant colony and also earlier newspaper reports, the crux of the matter was the sprawling garbage dumping ground of the DMC located along the highway near Burma Camp and close to Dhansiri river Dimapur. The scene of mountains of garbage located within the City’s zone is not only an eyesore but also poses grave health hazards to people living within its vicinity. Sunrise Colony has listed out several issues in its pliant and one among which is to directed the state, district and DMC to shift the garbage dump away to another location. That the DMC dumping ground has been in operation for over a decade and in clear violation of the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 is an offence. It is clear that the present dumping site poses direct health hazard to people around it and which is made worse due to bad maintenance. The site is also located at a low lying area and the accumulation of waste materials lead to percolation of chemicals. These contaminate the ground water resources through leaching and therefore has a direct effect upon the life and health of the residents of the area. Garbage also mainly contains every day use plastic, rubber and other toxic material which are being burnt openly by the DMC. The chemical reaction of all these materials cause toxic smell in the air. There is also clear evidence that the DMC dumping site is less than 30 meters away from the Dhansiri River while there are human habitation some 40-50 meters from it. The district authorities including the NPCB need to take a serious look at such matters. The DMC needs a thoroughly professional team to manage problems of city dwellers. The drains in the city are at best of hardly much use while the so-called side walks built over these so-called drains permit only a single pedestrian to walk on and in case another comes from the opposite direction, then one has to step aside in order to ensure peace and harmony. The DMC also levies charge on those who dump garbage at the site. Unfortunately, DMC has become synonymous with taxation not administration. The PIL by Sunrise Colony is therefore a wake up call for DMC as well as the city dwellers who feel they have no responsibility for cleanliness.

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