New Delhi, Aug 31 (PTI) The National Green Tribunal has slammed the Kerala government for its “indifference and insensitivity” to the serious issue of disposal of waste in the state and directed it to prepare an action plan for dealing with garbage within a month. Also Read - Air India Express Crash: What Are Tabletop Runways And Challenges Posed by Them For Pilots?

The tribunal made it clear that if the stakeholders fail to submit the action plan within the period stipulated, appropriate stringent and punitive action would be taken against the Heads of the Departments of the State Government, Municipal Corporation, Municipal Council and Gram Panchayats. Also Read - Air India Express Crash: Runway Friction Testing Not Done at Kerala Airport Before Landing, Says Report

A bench of Justice S P Wangdi and expert member Nagin Nanda said the records reveal the reluctance and the lackadaisical manner in which the state government and municipal corporations have been responding to the various directions issued in the matter. Also Read - Air India Express Crash: Civil Aviation Minister Visits Kozhikode, Announces Interim Relief

“The corporation appears still to be groping with the task of collecting data of generation of sewage within the municipal limits. We have not yet been informed on the progress made with regard to the sewage treatment plant (STP) proposed to be set up by the corporation.

“All the above reflect the indifference and insensitivity on the part of Kerala and the municipal bodies to deal undeniably with the serious question of disposal of wastes, be it the solid waste and other conglomeration of waste, which cumulatively cause serious threat to the environment and prove deleterious to the health of the people,” the bench said.

The tribunal directed the state government to prepare a comprehensive action plan in consultation with all local bodies with special focus on the major waste generating areas within one month. “The action plan shall take into consideration the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, Bio-Medical Rules, 2016 and Schedule-I to IV to the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986 with specific focus on connecting all domestic and industrial liquid waste to common STPs,” the bench said.

The tribunal’s direction came while hearing a case seeking direction to take effective steps for infrastructure development for collection, storage, segregation and disposal of municipal solid waste in the state.

The matter had come to the NGT from the Kerala High Court in 2013.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.