Maharashtra

Bank guarantee of Kolhapur Municipal Corporation confiscated from Pollution Control Board

 

As the Kolhapur Municipal Corporation is failing to control the pollution of Panchganga river which is one of the most polluted rivers in the country, the Pollution Control Board has once again confiscated the bank guarantee of 18 lakh. Of course, this is not the first but the third type of closure of a municipal bank guarantee. So far, six types of cases have been registered against the corporation. As the Pollution Control Board’s written Kolhapur Municipal Corporation has become a ‘continuous defaulter’, it has become clear that the corporation’s efforts to curb pollution have been ineffective. Despite the court’s decision to uphold the law, there are no signs of the river becoming pollution-free for at least another two years, given the municipal corporation’s efforts to decontaminate the Panchganga.
The State Pollution Control Board (MPCB) on Tuesday seized a bank guarantee of Rs 18 lakh from the Municipal Corporation for not completing the work of the Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) on time to curb pollution in the Panchganga river. However, this action will open the eyes of the Municipal Corporation and the action taken to curb the pollution will be completed immediately. Despite the efforts of NMC in this direction, it is not uncommon for the promise of action given to the government and the judiciary to be fulfilled in time.
Work is underway on STP plant to prevent pollution of Panchganga river. When Municipal Commissioner Vijayalakshmi Bidari recently reviewed the work, there was talk that at least two-thirds of the work on the STP on Jayanti Nala would be completed in a maximum of one month. It was also said that it would take some time for technical issues like pipeline rupture to arise. Researchers estimate that it will take at least a year and a half to complete the STP plant at Dudhali Nala. When the budget of NMC was presented to the standing committee chairpersons recently, it had allocated Rs 29 crore for the work of STP on the remaining 12 nallas in the city. It will take a long time to complete the tender process and issue the work order and actually complete the work. These incidents are enough to say that municipal corporations are failing to curb pollution. Due to this, Dilip Desai of Prajasattak Sanghatana had filed a petition in the court.
In 1997, the Supreme Court had ordered to curb pollution in the Panchganga river. The corporation had promised to complete the work in five years. Initially there was a funding crunch. Although funds of Rs 74 crore were received in 2008, the work was not completed as fast as it should have been. As a result, the State Pollution Control Board took action against the Municipal Corporation from time to time. NMC’s bank guarantee of Rs 1 lakh was confiscated in 2008 and two years later. A similar action was taken in 2011 and is now being repeated. Despite the action taken to cut off the power supply to the NMC headquarters and file criminal cases, the steps taken by the NMC have not been as fast as expected. The Municipal Corporation is now working with some vigilance as it is being ignored by the courts and the Pollution Control Board. However, according to water researcher Uday Gaikwad, the river Panchganga will have to rise in 2016 to get rid of pollution. Until then, however, Kolhapur district will not be free from the pollution of the river and the dangers it poses.
The indifference of the authorities
Due to the immersion of 21 feet idol of Ganesha for the last 16 years, the effluent from the Iranian mine has rotted. This has created dangerous pigments in the water. An officer of the Municipal Corporation released such foul smelling water into a nearby nala. Due to mixing of the same water in Panchganga, the pollution of the river has increased. The water released from the mine has been sampled by the Pollution Control Board and a panchnama has also been issued. Upon receipt of his report, there are indications that another case has been registered against the municipal corporation for the nature of the pollution. However, it should be noted that the decision to release highly contaminated water from the Iranian mine through a drain was made by the lone engineer in consultation with senior officials.

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