The Tripura Government through its Chief Secretary has informed the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that the ring-fenced amount of (Rs. 282.5 crores + Rs. 100 crores for urban solid and sewage management) be set apart for the purpose of solid as well as liquid waste management in the state.
Tribunal noted that a “Ring-fenced amount of atleast Rs. 382.5/- crores be set apart in
terms of a statement of the Chief Secretary, Tripura which has been taken on record and such funds be kept as “non- lapsable”.
The bench headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel in an order passed on April 13, 2023, said that “the Chief Secretary, Tripura may take further remedial measures to ensure compliance of Solid Waste Management Rules considering the statutory timelines to be sacrosanct as already directed by this Tribunal judgment. Similarly, the timelines for ensuring the setting up of necessary sewage management systems have to be accepted as rigid timelines in view of the judgment of the Supreme Court.
The tribunal further directed that “community compost pits be properly maintained, ensuring that compost produced is fully utilized and standardized designs be executed at town and village level and progress of installation duly monitored.”
Plastic waste and construction and demolition waste processing plants be set up to ensure that bio-medical, hazardous and E-waste are not co-mingled and treated with solid waste. Immediate efforts be made to ensure connectivity with STPs and proposed STPs, further directed by the Tribunal.
The Tribunal further added that we hope in the light of interaction with the Chief Secretary, the State of Tripura will take further measures in the matter by an innovative approach and stringent monitoring, ensuring that legacy waste, as well as unprocessed waste and liquid waste generation and treatment, are bridged at the earliest, shortening the proposed timelines, adopting alternative/interim measures to the extent and wherever found viable.
Restoration plans need to be executed at the earliest simultaneously in all districts/cities/ towns/ villages in a time-bound manner without further delay with well-laid monitoring mechanisms at State and District levels. District Magistrates must take ownership of monitoring of sewage and solid waste management and regularly provide reports to Chief Secretary on monthly basis and overall compliance be ensured by Chief Secretary for which regular meetings be conducted, said the Tribunal.
Earlier while awarded Environment Compensation in several states, the NGT had said that “award of compensation has become necessary under section 15 of the NGT Act to remedy the continuing damage to the environment and to comply with directions of the Supreme Court requiring this Tribunal to monitor enforcement of norms for solid and liquid waste management.
Moreover, without fixing the quantified liability necessary for restoration, the mere passing of orders has not shown any tangible results in the last several years (for solid waste management) and five years (for liquid waste management), even after the expiry of statutory/laid down timelines. Continuing damage is required to be prevented in future and past damage is to be restored, said the bench.
The directions were passed by the Green Court while examining the issues of solid and liquid waste management as per orders of the Supreme Court order dated September 2, 2014, with regard to solid waste management and an order dated February 22, 2017, in relation to liquid waste management.