Abdul Wahab Khan | NT
Over the last two and half years, the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) has slapped a fine of Rs 25,000 each on eight panchayats and four municipalities including the Corporation of City of Panaji (CCP) for laxity in initiating action against violations of burning of waste in the open in contravention of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order passed in 2016.
Despite repeated reminders to the panchayat secretaries, municipal chief officers and the CCP Commissioner, none of them have paid the penalty amount to the district collector as required under the NGT order.
There were a total of 18 written and telephonic complaints made by the concerned residents as well as from the Goa Waste Management Corporation of dumping and burning of non-biodegradable dry waste by locals as well as by municipal and panchayat workers at different spots including in Mapusa, Penha-de-Franca, St Cruz, Merces, Taleigao, Panaji, Betalbatim, Poinguinim, Chinchinim, Chicalim, Margao and Mormugao.
Accordingly, the Board asked the concerned local bodies to identify the violators and enforce fine of Rs 5,000 for simple burning and also to file compliance report failing which the local authority will have to pay a fine of Rs 25,000 to the collector but till date no compliance reports have been filed.
With no response from the local bodies, the GSPCB has now written to the two district collectors to initiate recovery proceedings against the concerned panchayats, municipalities and CCP and remit a penalty amount of Rs 25,000 each in the government treasury.
But these local authorities not even bothered to identify violator or file compliance report on waste collection and disposal mechanism therefore failing to comply with the directions contained in the NGT order passed in 2016, prohibiting burning of waste in the open and to impose fine of Rs 5000 for simple burning and Rs 25,000 for bulk burning against individual, local bodies, or project proponent found burning waste.
In 2017, six complaints were received from individuals along with photographs regarding waste burning at various locations in Mapusa, Penha-de-Franca, Chicalim, Betalbatim while in Taleigao, a telephonic complaint was received with regards to indiscriminate burning of mixed waste at dumping site at Nagali Hill.
Similarly in 2018, the Board received seven complaints from Mapusa, Merces, Taleigao, Panaji and Mormugao against individual and municipal workers for burning of waste in the open. In Panaji, a complaint was received against CCP workers for burning waste at the garden opposite GTDC Residency. A complaint was also received against burning of mixed waste at Campal parade ground.
Altogether five complaints were received this year till March 15 from Margao, Poinguinim, Chinchinim, St Cruz and Penha-de-Franca but no action was initiated.