NGT refrains from levying fine on Meghalaya, says funds already committed for waste management
A bench comprising Chairperson Justice A K Goel said there were gaps in solid and liquid waste generation and treatment.
The National Green Tribunal has refrained from levying environmental compensation of ₹109 crore on Meghalaya, noting that the state had already committed the requisite funds for solid and liquid waste management. The NGT is monitoring compliance with Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, and other environmental issues by states and Union territories.
A bench comprising Chairperson Justice A.K. Goel said there were gaps in solid and liquid waste generation and treatment.
The bench also comprising Judicial Member Justice Sudhir Agarwal and expert members Arun Kumar Tyagi and A. Senthil Vel said immediate planning, including revision of timelines, and implementation of a time-bound action plan, were among the steps required to resolve the problem.
The first step required was the establishment of a centralised single window mechanism at the state level for planning, capacity building and monitoring of waste management, the bench said. For determining the quantum of compensation, the bench said the existing gaps included the 50 million litres each day gap in sewage generation and treatment along with the solid legacy waste of 3 lakh metric tonnes.
"The estimated environmental compensation comes to around ₹109 crore," the bench said adding, "the compensation rests on the polluter pays principle recognising failure in scientifically managing the liquid and solid waste in violation of the mandate of law."
The green panel, however, noted that the state government had filed a document committing ₹109 crore in a ring-fenced account immediately for undertaking solid and liquid waste management. It also said that during the interaction with the state's chief secretary, it was confirmed that ₹234 crore was "readily available" for solid and liquid waste management.
"In view of this, we refrain from levying compensation," the tribunal said. The tribunal directed the chief secretary to file six monthly progress reports with verifiable progress.