Implementation of Environmental Laws

07/08/2017

Issues relating to pollution control, waste management and environment conservation are being given due attention in different parts of the country yet a committee of two Ministers and 14 Administrative Secretaries constituted to look into these aspects in Jammu and Kashmir has failed to begin the much-needed exercise despite lapse of several months. Due to this, the developmental activities are continuously leaving adverse impact on the environment and air-water pollution has remained a matter of grave concern. The Union Government had started exercise to review and monitor implementation of environmental laws so as to come up with the amendments required to be made in line with current requirements and to meet the objectives. Even directions were issued to all the States to conduct similar exercise at their own level with the sole objective of environment conservation. J&K Government woke up from the deep slumber early this year and accordingly decided to get the task conducted through a multi-department committee so as to have holistic view of the problem and come up with remedial measures. In line with this decision, the General Administration Department vide Order No.488 dated April 18, 2017 constituted a High Level Committee to regularly review the status of implementation of environmental laws in the State. Despite lapse of three months not even one meeting of the High Level Committee has been convened till date, sources said. This has established that the vital issues relating to environment have been dumped by constituting the committee of Ministers and bureaucrats, they added.
The non-seriousness on the part of High Level Committee is notwithstanding the fact that air and water pollution has already assumed alarming proportion in Jammu and Kashmir and even High Court has expressed serious concern over this issue a number of times while handling Public Interest Litigations (PILs) on the subject. Moreover, disposal of solid waste in most unscientific manner has remained unchecked, which otherwise was also required to be discussed by the High Level Committee. It is pertinent to mention here that the Department of Ecology, Environment and Remote Sensing has only two DFOs-one each for Kashmir and Jammu regions to ensure implementation of Environment Protection Act.
“The proposal regarding reorganization of the department is gathering dust during the past quite long time for want of clearance from Finance and Planning Departments", sources informed.In order to ensure that environmental degradation is checked before it causes more deleterious affects the Chief Minister should intervene and ensure that the High Level Committee starts review and monitoring of implementation of environmental laws.

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