The Supreme Court on Thursday said "mountains of garbage" in Delhi indicate that the city is facing a grave situation. The court slammed the Lieutenant Governor (L-G) for not taking appropriate action on the issue of solid waste management.
Referring to the "mountains of garbage" at the three landfill sites " Ghazipur, Okhla and Bhalswa " the court said no action has been taken by authorities, including the office of the LG due to which Delhi was facing the serious problem. The office of L-G and Delhi government told a bench comprising justices MB Lokur and Deepak Gupta that municipal corporations have the responsibility to deal with the issue of solid waste management.
The bench snubbed the L-G " in unusually colourful language " after amicus curiae Colin Gonsalves told the court that no one from his office attended meetings on the status of landfills. The judges were quoted as saying by NDTV, "You (L-G) say 'I have power, I am a Superman'. But you don't do anything."
The bench also termed as "utopian" the 'state policy on solid waste management strategy' which has been framed by the L-G office and observed that perhaps it would be impossible to implement as the East Delhi Municipal Corporation and the North Delhi Municipal Corporation don't have funds to carry out their day-to-day affairs.
The bench directed the office of the L-G to file an affidavit by 16 July indicating the time frame on the steps it is supposed to take to deal with the situation. The Delhi government and the L-G also informed the bench that the L-G has the power to issue directions to authorities concerned under the provisions of Delhi Municipal Corporation Act on disposal of solid waste.
The apex court had on the last date of hearing asked the Centre and the Delhi government to clarify who could be held responsible for clearing the "mountain loads of garbage" in the national capital " those reporting to L-G Anil Baijal or to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. The top court's direction came days after its verdict on the power tussle between the Lieutenant Governor and the Aam Aadmi Party government in which it held that the L-G has no independent power to take decisions and is bound by the elected government's aid and advice.
The top court slapped a fine of Rs one lakh each on Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal, Kerala, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Punjab, Lakshadweep and Puducherry for not filing the affidavit despite earlier directions. On 27 March, the top court had said that days are not far when garbage mounds at the Ghazipur landfill site in Delhi will match the height of the iconic 73-metre high Qutub Minar and red beacon lights will have to be used to ward off aircraft flying over it
With inputs from PTI