New Delhi: Lambasting the local bodies for not doing their work and passing the buck on each other, the Delhi High Court on Thursday said the severe waterlogging on the roads in the national capital was due to clogging of drains by plastics and other non-biodegradable materials.
"Each of the agency in the capital of Delhi do not do their work and, because of the multiplicity of the agencies, they pass the buck on each other," a bench of justices BD Ahmed and Ashutosh Kumar said.
Their strident reaction came a day after another high court bench said "we cannot tolerate this year after year", while commenting on the water-logging on major roads and crippling of traffic movement in large parts of Delhi.
The bench made the remarks on Thursday after it was told by the counsel for Public Works Department (PWD) that they were only responsible for 1226 kms of roads in the city, while three MCDs said they should not be blamed for the overflowing drains during rains, as it was the PWD's responsibility also. The court was hearing a PIL by Col (Rtd) B B Sharan who has sought direction for maintaining cleanliness in Delhi.
"The local bodies, including the Municipal Corporations of Delhi, New Delhi Municipal Council and Delhi Cantonment Board were asked to frame bye-laws incorporating the provisions of Plastic Waste Management Rules in exercise of powers conferred under the Environment (Protection) Act... "In absence of setting up of the infrastructure for segregation, collection, storage, transportation, processing and disposal of plastic waste in Delhi, it would be difficult to stop clogging of drains. The non-biodegradable materials is the main reason for clogging of drains, which we can see from the recent waterlogging in Delhi," the court said.
"It appears that the local bodies of Delhi are not serious. Therefore, we direct them to frame bye-laws and implement them as soon as possible," it said.
The court said that responsibility of framing plastic waste management rules in union territories was on the state pollution control board or pollution control committee. "In Delhi, it is the responsibility of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee to ensure the enforcement of the provisions of plastic waste management rules pertaining to registration, manufacture of plastic products and multilayered packaging, processing and disposal of plastic wastes."
The court expressed anguish over delay in the constitution of State Level Advisory Committee and said they were refraining from passing any contempt notice to them. "State Level Advisory Committee should convene a meeting within a week and all the Commissioners of MCD, chairperson of New Delhi Municipal Council and the Chief Executive Officer of the Delhi Cantonment Board shall be responsible for ensuring compliance of the Rules," it said, adding that in case meeting is not held, coercive steps can be taken against them.
It also asked New Delhi Municipal Council to inform it about the segregation of waste in its area, like it had implemented in the New Moti Bagh area of South Delhi.
"We direct the said Council to also implement the same scheme in other areas under its control. A status report with regard to its implementation shall be filed within three weeks," the court said.
Apart from the issue of cleanliness, the court is also monitoring whether the family members of an 8-year old boy, who lost his life by falling into an open sewage drain in the middle of a footpath in Shakurpur (North-West Delhi) in May, have been compensated or not.
It directed the Delhi government's Chief Secretary to give compensation to the deceased family within one week and also take action against the erring officials and file a report by 6 October, the next date of hearing.