Salt Lake civic body fined Rs 10 lakh

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KOLKATA: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday imposed a fine of Rs 10 lakh on Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation (BMC) for its failure to fence off Mollar Bheri according to its directions. The bench has also warned that the civic body will have to pay another Rs 10 lakh as fine if its order was not complied with within a month. For years now, BMC has been dumping garbage in the waterbody that is part of the East Kolkata Wetlands (EKW), a Ramsar Site.

In May, NGT had given the Bidhannagar civic body till June 15 to fence off the waterbody. The bench of Justice S P Wangdi, Justice K Ramakrishnan and expert member Satyawan Singh Garbyal was hearing an application by environment activist Subhas Datta on degradation of the EKW. Datta had contended that if the dumping ground at Mollar Bheri was not shifted, there would be severe water contamination and air pollution in the EKW. The bench had then directed BMC to fence off the dumping ground to prevent the leachate and slurry from reaching the wetlands and degrading it. Several other directions for conservation of the EKW were passed.
On Friday, the bench expressed its displeasure after coming to know that BMC hasn’t taken any steps to comply with the order. The civic body maintained that some more time will be required to get ‘approval’. “We have communicated the matter to the urban development and municipal affairs department and are awaiting administrative approval to take the necessary steps,” said MMiC Devashis Jana.
According to another official, preparations have been made to fence off the 550-bigha Mollar Bheri. The civic body is also planning to start a campaign to segregate waste at source across its 41 wards.
In the past, plans were made to recycle waste after segregation at housing complexes to reduce the volume of solid waste. The civic body was to offer tax sops for complexes to have composting plants.