Sunday, Dec 22, 2002
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By Our Staff Correspondent
Inaugurating the divisional-level workshop on "Solid waste management" organised jointly by the Urban Development Department, Department of Municipal Administration, and the Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation here, Mr. Kharge said although Karnataka was better placed in overall solid waste management when compared to others, much needed to be done to meet the standards set by the Supreme Court and the recommendations of the high-powered committee constituted by the apex court on solid waste management.
Mr. Kharge said that according to one estimate, the State might require Rs. 400 crore to install solid waste management facilities in all the 222 municipalities and six city corporations, and the State Government would have to provide another Rs. 31 crore recurring expenditure for maintaining the infrastructure.
The State would also move the Centre to sanction special funds to enable civic bodies to take up solid waste management activities. The minister said that according to the Supreme Court directions, authorities that failed to implement the order would face imprisonment of not less than five years. The first to be punished would be the Secretary of the department and later the Deputy Commissioner and commissioners of municipalities and corporations. He said that the State Government had taken the first step of submitting a proposal for allocation of Rs. 70 crore in the Eleventh Finance Commission for taking up solid waste management works. It was the duty of urban civic bodies to adopt safe and scientific management of handling and disposal of solid wastes.
Rapid urbanisation had compounded the misery of the authorities. Mr Kharge said on an average the State generated 5,800 tonnes of solid waste every day and the enormity of the situation urgently called for a scientific and systematic approach to not only dispose of the waste but also recycle it as bio-fertilizer and to put the solid waste to other uses.
Although the poor financial position of civic bodies had contributed to the present situation, Mr. Kharge said that municipalities and corporations also failed to judiciously utilise the available resources. Involvement of people in solid waste management was important for the success of the programme, and NGOs should also be involved actively for its success.
Referring to the ban on the use of plastic bags in the State, Mr. Kharge said it should be effectively implemented. The civic bodies should also be empowered to punish violators.
The minister said that there was need for amending the Karnataka Municipal CouncilAct, and asked the Department of Municipal Administration to submit a proposal in this regard. He pointed out that the Government had earmarked Rs. 2.94 crore for acquisition of land for disposal of solid waste in areas coming under urban bodies, and asked the deputy commissioners to acquire the land immediately to start the process of solid waste management.
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