Garbage dumping issue: Let High Court decide, says NGT
The National Green Tribunal on Friday left it to the Delhi high court to resolve the deadlock between the AAP government and civic bodies on the issue of garbage dumping on the streets of the city due to the ongoing sanitation workers strike.
The panel came of this view after the Delhi government said that it has given all necessary funds to civic bodies for the payment of salaries of sanitation workers while Municipal Corporations contended that they are running short of funds to clear the dues of their staff.
“We are informed that the Delhi high court is seized of the matter of garbage dumping which shall be taken up on December 2. In the circumstances, let the parties raise their grievance before the High Court,” a Bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar said. During the hearing, Tarunvir Singh Khehar, the counsel for the Delhi government, said that funds have been already released to civic bodies for payment of salaries and the corporations need to have their own source of income.
Advocate Balendu Shekher, appearing for the civic bodies, contended that while salaries have been paid to the sanitation staff till the month of September, that of senior officers in the category of ‘A’ and ‘B’” have not been been paid for last two months. “We do not have funds or resources to pay the salaries and whatever money the Delhi government has given is in plan expenditure and only Rs 164 crore has been given in non-plan expenditure which was insufficient,” he said.
Shekher submitted that for East Delhi Municipal Corporation only around Rs 125 crore is needed to pay the salaries of all the staff and for this purpose they have written a letter to the Delhi government on October 28.
“Have you come out with a notification that this strike is illegal? Why haven’t you taken the assistance of the police if there is any resistance from anyone?” the Bench said to civic bodies. The civic bodies’ counsel said that on October 28, the High Court and the Tribunal had passed certain directions with regard to the matter after which the situation had improved and around 1,200 MTs of waste was removed.
To this, the Delhi government counsel contended that civic bodies cannot solely depend on the city government for the funds and they need to realise their arrears of property tax and generate own sources of income. The Bench then asked the parties to raise their grievances before the High Court and disposed of the petition. On October 28, the green panel had asked the civic bodies to remove the solid waste within two days and directed the Delhi government to extend its support to them.
The panel had issued notice to all the three Municipal Corporations — East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC), North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC )— and the Delhi government.
The Tribunal’s order had come on a plea moved by advocate Sanjeev Ralli who had said that due to strike of sanitation staff of civic bodies, garbage is being dumped on the streets of Delhi which is becoming a grave cause of environmental pollution. The Bench had then reopened a disposed of case filed by one Saurabh Sharma on a similar issue of piling of garbage within the limits of EDMC earlier this year noting that around 8,000 MTs of waste is being produced in the national Capital on a daily basis which may have an adverse effect on the environment.