On the first day of its visit here the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Subordinate Legislation today held threadbare discussion with J&K administration on several issues related to the waste management rules laying special emphasis on Swachh Bharat Mission and cleanliness of rivers and lakes in J&K.
The delegation is lead by its Chairman,Pratap Singh Bajwa and 11 other Rajya Sabha members namely Smt Vandana Chavan, Sh. Dushyant Gautam, Dr Vikas Mahatme, Sh. Surendra Singh Nagar, Sh Ram Vichar Netam, Dr Amar Patnaik, Dr Banda Prakash, Sh GVI Narsimha Rao, Sh Tiruchi Siva, Sh Pradeep Tamta, and Sh Vivek K Tankha.
The committee was briefed by the Chief Secretary, Dr Arun Kumar Mehta about the historical steps taken by the administration during the past couple of years. The CS informed the visiting delegation that the UT has fully adopted the 73rd and 74th amendments of the constitution bringing governance to the grassroots level.
The Chief Secretary also apprised the committee that for the first time District Development Council (DDC) elections had been conducted with a large participation of people giving the vibrant and people friendly Council to them.
The CS further revealed that the UT has the distinction of being an open defecation free region besides having the robust system of door to door collection of municipal waste in the municipal areas.He gave out that all the recruitments including class IV are now entrusted to recruitment board.
Dr Mehta also mentioned that there is proper rule of law in the UT now and institutions have been strengthened at every level. He claimed that every public penny is accounted for with the help of error-free mechanism that has been put in place. He said that with the help of IT tools like BEAMS and EMPOWERMENT portal the public is kept abreast with the expenditure made by the administration.
He also made out that around 4500 youth clubs under Mission Youth started functioning in J&K from the 15th of Aug. He said that unemployment in J&K is being tackled holistically here with its percentage decreasing to nearly 11% despite covid pandemic. He further gave out that it is the endeavour of this government to slash it down under 5% in future.
The Chief Secretary also revealed that around 9514 projects worth Rs 3900 crore have been completed in J&K with 6167 projects within a year only. He said that each project has to be now mandatorily e-tendered here brining total transparency in the system of award of contracts and quality of work executed.
In a separate presentation made by Principal Secretary, H&UDD, Dheeraj Gupta to the committee the compliance of J&K to different rules related to waste management were deliberated upon. It was said that J&K has formulated and implemented the policy and strategy for solid waste management (SWM) besides devised an action plan and bylaws for the same. He gave out that tenders for bio-remediation of 9 polluted rivers has already been floated.
He further presented that in compliance to Biomedical Waste Management rules the UT has constituted the State level Advisory Committee and District level Monitoring Committee. Similarly action has been taken regarding implementation of Construction &Demolition Waste Management Rules, e-Waste, Plastic Waste Management Rules and Hazardous & other Waste Management Rules.
In his presentation the Commissioner Secretary, Forests, Sanjeev Verma presented the status of cleanliness of various water bodies here including lakes and rivers. He presented the studies of 4 lakes including Dal, Wular, Mansar and Surinsar lakes. He divulged that the PH, Oxygen Demand, and Biological oxygen demand are all within permissible limits in these water bodies. Further he informed the committee that the desilting, deweeding and extraction of lily pads is going on at a brisk pace.
The Commissioner Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) explained before the Parliamentary Committee that the Corporation is catering to about 1.55 million population having nearly 1.84 lakh households. He mentioned that the corporation is scheduled to collect about 526 tonnes of waste daily. He gave out that 60% municipal area is serviced by door to door collection from households.
He also said that SMC is working on an innovative idea of ‘Sunday for Srinagar’ to clean areas that are neglected or vulnerable for garbage accumulation. He further made out that SMC has poultry waste collection service in all 74 wards besides providing service of construction & demolition waste service on minimal charges by applying online.
The Commissioner also said that to tackle the menace of polythene pollution SMC is currently running a 6R campaign of reduce, reuse, recycle, remove, refuse and report. He revealed that the corporation deals with the waste on scientific lines as they have 3 scientific cells established at Achan land fill site.
The Commissioner also said that the Corporation is planning to do biomining and bioremediation of around 9 lakh tonnes of legacy waste at Achhan and tendering for first phase has already been done.
He revealed that Srinagar has also tendered out waste to energy plant. The project is at the stage of tarif adoption and processing the Power Purchase Agreement.
The Parliamentary Committee appreciated the measures taken by the UT administration in achieving certain goals and fulfilling the parameters of Swachh Bharat Mission. They said that ‘Sunday for Srinagar’ initiative is an impressive idea and should be adopted nationwide.
The Committee exhilarated upon the officers that the efforts needs to be doubled so that next time Srinagar comes up as a cleanest hill station instead of its current ranking of 36th.
Earlier the Parliamentary Committee enquired from various oil companies like IOCL, BPCL, HPCL, ONGC and GAIL about the codes of practice for emergency response and disaster management plan. They asked about the SoPs and other checking put in place at all their installations here to avoid exigencies. It was said that the companies have a robust safety system in place that has a chance of 10 errors out of million operations only lower than the mechanism employed at nuclear plants.
The Committee also had detailed discussion with the representatives of banks operational here. They enquired from the representative of RBI, SBI, J&K Bank, UCO Bank, Union Bank and Canara Bank about their compliance with priority sector lending. Each of the bank provided details regarding the credit provided to sectors like agriculture, horticulture, handloom and handicrafts etc.
The committee members asked several clarifications from the banking representatives and asked them to give equal importance to small ticket businesses. They asked for giving priority to these sectors while disbursing loans as they contribute majorly to employment generation after agriculture and allied activities.
Later the Committee members also visited the interiors of the dal lake and took first hand appraisal of the cleanliness measures taken by the Lakes and Waterways Authority. The committee then visited the Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP) at Laam, Nishat and asked about the scientific method of treatment of waste there.