THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state is aggressively pushing for costly waste-to-energy plants across the state without even having a solid waste management policy as mandated by the Union government. Much to the embarrassment of the state, the local self-government department has authorised an amount of Rs 1 lakh in an order dated July 18 for remitting the fine imposed by Supreme Court for failure of state in framing a state policy.
The director of urban affairs has been authorized to deposit the amount with Supreme Court legal services committee.
Kerala was one among 10 states and two Union territories directed by the SC through an order dated July 10 to pay a fine of Rs 1 lakh for failing to comply with the orders passed by Supreme Court regarding implementation of Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.
In its order, the court had expressed shock over the failure of more than two-third of states and UTs to implement the Rules even two years after they came into force. Kerala had also failed to respond to reminders from Union ministry of environment, forests and climate change to comply with the provisions of solid waste management rules.
While the state is willing to pay Rs one lakh fine for non-compliance, KSIDC, the implementing agency for waste-to-energy plants has already invited request for proposal (RFP) for integrated solid waste management with a waste-to-energy (WTE) project of minimum 5 MW capacity on design, build, finance, operate and transfer (DBFOT) basis at Njalianparambu, . The project would be executed in public private partnership (PPP) mode.
The Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, postulate preparation of a state policy and solid waste management strategy in consultation with stakeholders. Rule 11 require the secretary, urban development department in the state or director of municipal administration or director of local bodies to prepare a state policy and solid waste management strategy for the state in consultation with stakeholders including representatives of waste pickers, self-help groups and similar organizations working in the field of waste management, in a period not later than one year from the date of notification.
Rule 15 of SWM Rules directs the local authorities to prepare a solid waste management plan as per state policy and strategy within six months from the date of notification of state policy. However, with the state itself failing to evolve a policy of its own, the local authorities have been at a loss framing a policy.
Officials with LSG department said that a document based on source-level segregation and processing is ready but was never approved by the state government.
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