The High Court on Wednesday stayed the notice issued by the State Pollution Control Board directing the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation to show cause why a sum of 14.59 crore shall not be recovered from it as environmental compensation for its alleged non-compliance with the provisions of the Solid Waste Management Rules 2016.
The stay order was passed on a writ petition filed by the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation challenging the show cause notice for recovering an environmental compensation for non-compliance of the rules during the period from November 22, 2018 to July 31, 2019.
When the petition was taken up for hearing, N. Nandakumara Menon, Senior Counsel for the Corporation, submitted that the notice was absolutely without jurisdiction and unsustainable in law. The Corporation had taken all possible steps strictly in accordance with the provisions of the Solid Waste Management Rules 2016 in its letter and spirit. He pointed out that the Vilappilsala treatment plant could not be operated due to stiff resistance from the local people, and ultimately the corporation was compelled to close down the plant.
In fact, the corporation had taken all steps for the collection, segregation and treatment of solid waste in accordance with the provisions of the Solid Waste Management Rules 2016 after the closure of the plant.
In fact, the Corporation had decided to introduce a decentralised waste management system, considering the peculiarity of Thiruvananthapuram Corporation. In order to comply with the Polluter Pays Principle as laid down by the Supreme Court, the Corporation had imposed penalties on defaulters and recovered a fine of 12,06,560 besides initiating steps to enforce extended producer responsibility after conducting brand audits by Green Army, the counsel contended.