NGT slaps BBMP with Rs 5 crore fine

NGT slaps BBMP with Rs 5 crore fine

The National Green Tribunal has slammed the BBMP for its “repeated failure” to comply with its directions to ensure bio-mining and continued “cover-up” by allowing dumping of solid wastes in quarry pits at Bengaluru north taluk. It slapped a whopping Rs 5 crore as environment compensation on the municipal body for seeking more time for the purpose.

“There is thus continued defiance by the BBMP not only in carrying out the directions of this tribunal but also in performing its statutory duties which has consequence of threatening the public health and environment,” a bench headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said.

The tribunal noted that an affidavit contending compliance to its previous directions has been filed on September 29. “However, there is nothing to show that the work of bio-mining has started,” it noted.

“We thus reject the claim of compliance and hold that the so-called compliance is an exercise to cover up the failure or duty by the BBMP,” it added.

The panel granted two months’ time for compliance of its directions, subject to depositing environmental compensation of Rs 5 crore within one month with the Central Pollution Control Board.

“It is open to the BBMP to recover the amount from the officers responsible for failure of their duties. The amount may be spent on remedying the situation and improving the environment by CPCB,” the tribunal said in its order passed on October 22.

The order was passed on an application filed by advocate Shailesh Madiyal on behalf of Venkatesh and others.

The tribunal had earlier noted that abandoned quarries were being used as dumping sites in violation of the Solid Waste Municipal Rules, 2016.

After a joint inspection by the officials of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Central Pollution Control Board and KSPCB, the tribunal found “serious deficiencies” in the action of BBMP with regard to the site selection, development of facilities of sanitary landfill sites, criteria for specification of land filling, closure of land filling after completion, criteria for pollution, water quality monitoring, ambient air quality monitoring, plantation and landfills sites.

On March 9, the BBMP was directed to pay Rs 10 Lakh as environmental compensation and the commissioner was personally summoned before the panel. 

“We had already explained to the NGT that it was not possible to carry out bio-mining. They asked us to do it for 97,000 tonnes, which was also very difficult. We will appeal to the Supreme Court in this regard,” said a senior officer of the BBMP’s solid waste management wing.

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