G.V.R. Subba Rao

APPCB says it has no powers to issue notices to the corporation

VIJAYAWADA: The three canals passing through the city – Eluru, Bandar and Ryve’s – continue to get polluted mainly due to the defiant attitude of various law enforcing agencies, more particularly the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC).

Discharge of sullage emanating from One Town into Krishna Eastern Main Canal and two urinals near the VMC main office stand testimony to the blatant violation of the Supreme Court guidelines and environmental laws.

In the continuing blame game among the VMC, the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) and Irrigation Department, the ultimate loser apparently is commoner, who is dependent on these canals for various needs, including drinking water.

Officials of the APPCB, who are mandated with the responsibility of taking action against individuals and government agencies responsible for causing pollution and degradation of environment, plead that they do not have powers to issue notices to the VMC.

They, however, have no answer to the question as to why notices can’t be issued to the VMC under the A.P. Water, Land and Trees Act, 2002 (WALTA).

Local officials of the APPCB say that their attempt to draw the attention of VMC higher-ups to the pollution of canals due to discharge of sewage had drawn an ‘unwelcome’ response.

Thereafter, the APPCB officials didn’t dare to pursue the matter further.

The VMC officials argue that canals are getting polluted more because of canal bund dwellers who let out their wastes into the water. They even maintain that Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) in the canals is under permissible limits, which indicates that water is not polluted to any alarming level.

However, what seems to have been conveniently ignored is the fact that the percentage of e-coli and other bacteria, which are responsible for outbreak of diseases like dysentery, is quite high, according to APPCB officials.