The Coimbatore Corporation has not submitted Form II to the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB), in which it has to mention details about its solid waste management project.
The TNPCB has said this in response to a Right To Information query filed by V. Eswaran, the district secretary of the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. Submission of Form II, according to the Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, is mandatory.
“The Municipal authority shall furnish its annual report in Form II – a) to the Secretary-in-charge of the Department of Urban Development of the concerned State or as the case may be of the Union territory, in case of a metropolitan city; or, b) to the District Magistrate or the Deputy Commissioner concerned in case of all other towns and cities, with a copy to the State Board [in this case, the TNPCB] or the Committee on or before the 30 of June every year.”
In Form II the Corporation has to mention the total quantity of waste generated in a day, total quantity of wastes collected per day, total quantity of wastes processed for – a) composting, vermiculture, pellets and others, if any, total quantity of waste disposed in landfill – no of landfill sites used, area used, manpower available on the site, whether covering is done a daily basis, areas covered for collection of wastes, number of houses covered, whether house-to-house collection is practised, and much more.
The TNPCB also tells Mr. Eswaran that the Corporation has also not submitted Form IV and V, similar records to be submitted to the Central Pollution Control Board.
Sources in the Coimbatore Corporation in defence say that the civic body has submitted the mandatory forms for all years except 2011-12 and that is what is reflected in the RTI query. The story does not end there. The TNPCB also says that it had accorded authorisation to the Corporation to run the waste management plant at Vellalore till March 31, 2012. It is silent on the position thereafter. The Corporation sources say that if the TNPCB says that Corporation was operating the plant without permission it was free to initiate action.
In response to another question, the TNPCB says that the Corporation has not informed it in writing about fire accidents at the Vellalore dump yard. The Corporation officials explain that the civic body is bound to inform the TNPCB only if the outbreak of fire is in the plant. The fire breakouts in the past have been in the open dump yard, which has nothing to do waste management plant, for which the TNPCB has accorded approval/authorisation.
On the issue of Corporation segregating waste before taking it to the plant in Vellalore, the TNPCB says that it has advised the civic body to segregate the waste after it came to light during inspection that unsegregated waste was lying across the dump yard.
Mr. Eswaran says it is unfair on the part of the TNPCB to have not taken any action when the Corporation has failed to comply with norms. As a monitoring agency, the TNPCB is bound to take action but it has failed.
Sources in TNPCB say that they have written to the higher officials in the Board to issue directions to the Corporation to comply with the norms.