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Uttarakhand High Court directs respondents not to use land in Tiloth village as dumping site

The Uttarakhand High Court has directed that the respondents should ensure that they strictly comply with the specifications laid down in Schedule II of the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, and the site in question should not be used as a dump site, which is bound to cause nuisance for the local people in the adjoining schools and temple nearby.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rakesh Thapliyal disposed of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking the following reliefs:

Issue a writ, order or direction in the nature of certiorari calling for the record and quashing the Joint Inspection Report dated 21.09.2019, as well as the order dated 25.09.2019, whereby the land at Village Tiloth / Ward No. 3 has been identified and handed over to the Nagar Palika Parishad, Barahat for disposal of solid waste generated in area of Nagar Palika Parishad.

Issue a writ, order or direction in the nature of mandamus restraining the respondent Nagar Palika Parishad, Barahat, Uttarkashi from constructing and installing the Solid Waste Management Disposal Plant at Village Tiloth / Ward No. 3, District Uttarkashi in violation of the provisions of Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, being not an identified landfill site in terms of Rules of 2016.

Issue a writ, order or direction in the nature of mandamus directing the District Magistrate, Uttarkashi and Nagar Palika Parishad, Barahat, Uttarkashi to identify the land for disposal of garbage on the basis of the parameters provided in Clause (A)(vii) and Clause (I) of Schedule I of the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.

The apprehension of the petitioners is that the respondents are developing a dumping site for solid waste at the site in question, which is near two schools, and a temple. The petitioners allege violation by the respondents, of the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, notified on 08.04.2016.

In response to the notice issued in this case, counter-affidavits have been filed by the respondents. The stand taken by respondent No. 4 (the Nagar Palika Parishad, Barahat, District Uttarkashi) , is that the facility being developed at the site in question is a facility for processes, namely, segregation, recovery, storage, collection, re-cycling, processing, treatment, and safe disposal of solid waste, and the said site is not being developed as a dump site for disposal of solid waste, without following the principles of sanitary land filling. The respondents have stated that they are developing a scientific facility for disposal of solid waste strictly in accordance with the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, and the project is being implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in partnership with the District Administration and the Nagar Palika Parishad, Barahat.

The respondent No. 4 stated that the project in question – “is in-fact a Solid Waste Segregation and Processing Centre “Swachhta Kendra”, and not a garbage dumping site, as wrongly alleged by the petitioners. It is pertinent to state here that the petitioners have deliberately and wrongly cited the provisions relating to landfills and have illegally tried to use against the aforesaid Swachhta Kendra being constructed by the District Administration and the answering respondent.”

The Counsel for the Petitioner sought to place reliance on Schedule I of the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016. Schedule I of the said Rules lays down the specifications for sanitary landfills which, we may notice, the site in question is not.

Schedule II of the said Rules lays down the standards of processing and treatment of solid waste. These standards are what would be applicable to the facility being developed by the respondents, and it would be necessary for the respondents to abide by the standards laid down in Schedule II with regard to emission etc. Since, there is no specification laid down in Schedule II with regard to the location of the processing facility of solid waste, the Bench is of the view that the location of the facility at the site in question cannot be validly assailed.

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