A day after the High Court expressed displeasure over the unhygienic conditions in the SGPDA retail fish market, the Margao Municipal Council (MMC) got cracking, imposing a penalty of Rs 50,000 on the Planning Body for dumping unsegregated waste in the adjoining fields.
While directing it to deposit the fine within 24 hours, MMC Chief Officer Gaurish Shankhwalkar has asked the SGPDA to henceforth segregate the waste generated in the market daily as required under the Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016-17 by-laws.
Issuing a notice under the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, The Goa Non-Bio-degradable Garbage Control Act, 1998 and section 197 read with sections 223 & 225 of the Goa Municipalities Act, 1968, the Chief Officer has directed the SGPDA Member Secretary Sheikh Ali to appear before him on July 27 with written submissions and undertaking for not repeating the act in view of the directions.
The Chief Officer has warned that failure to comply with the directions will compel the MMC to initiate action under the provisions of the rules and laws and also file a case before the appropriate court of law without any further notice.
In the notice, the Chief Officer pointed out that the improper management of solid waste and sewage within the SGPDA retail market is causing environmental pollution in the vicinity, in violation of the rules.
“It is reported that the waste generated in the SGPDA retail market has been dumped outside the compound in the fields in an unsegregated manner, besides mixed waste dumped in the adjoining fields by the vendors and the contractor engaged by the SGPDA," the notice stated.
The notice added: “The segregated waste which is being dumped in the adjoining fields by your vendors or by the contractor engaged by the PDA has become extremely difficult for handling, managing and disposal of waste by the Council in accordance with the Municipal Solid waste rules, 2016.”
The retail fish market has been in the news in recent times over the unhygienic conditions and for want of upkeep. It was only a week ago that PDA Chairman, MLA Krishna Salkar got the planning body to desilt the clogged drains.
MMC inspection of retail market unearths unhygienic conditions
Margao Municipal Council (MMC) inspection of the SGPDA retail market unearthed unhygienic and pathetic conditions.
A glance at the inspection report showed that sewage, after clearing from the retail market, was seen discharged in the stormwater drains which further flows into the nearby fields.
That’s not all. The inspection team was greeted with a foul smell and stench surrounding the fish market and meat stalls.
The team also came across a huge amount of waste to the tune of around 10-12 metric tonnes in an unsegregated manner, dumped in the adjoining fields near the compound walls.
Why did MMC wait for Court observation to initiate action?
Margao Municipal Council's (MMC) action in the SGPDA retail market seemed to have come after the High Court expressed displeasure over the condition in the fish market, throwing up a moot question – why did it wait for the Court to take cognisance to initiate action?
That’s not all. The MMC in its notice served to SGPDA member secretary Sheikh Ali, refers to an inspection carried out on July 17 to justify the action.
The moot question, however, remains unanswered – why did the MMC wait till July 25 to issue the notice when the so-called inspection was conducted on July 17? Again, the MMC will have to answer, why it took seven days to send the notice to the PDA after the July 17 inspection, or whether the notice served on July 25 is a direct result of the High Court observation.
Another task at hand to meet deadline on drainage plan
Even as the Margao Municipal Council (MMC) is grappling with waste management at Sonsodo and sewage disposal in the city after these burning issues came under the High Court lens, the civic body has another task at hand – to finalise the plan for a drainage system.
The Court, while hearing the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) writ petition filed by Prof Antonio Alvares on sewage discharge in the drains, directed the MMC to finalise the plan for drainage within two months from July 24 (Monday).
The Court issued the directions after the MMC counsel stated that the civic body, in coordination with GSUDA, will finalise the plan as expeditiously as possible.
The Court warned that the Chief Officer and Municipal Engineer will be responsible for completing the work on time, before adjourning the case to September 13 to report compliance.