Tribune News Service
Dehradun, December 19
The state government has woken up to the Uttarakhand Plastic and Biodegradable Waste and Disposal Regulatory Bill 2013 only after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) imposed a ban o the use of polythene bags from Gomukh to Haridwar.
The Bill was passed in the Assembly and a gazette notification was issued. But it could not become operational in the absence of rules and guidelines for its implementation.
As a result, the Act continues to gather dust in files though there is hope that the government will soon draft rules and guidelines so that it could be put to better use. The NGT has directed imposition of heavy fines on hotels, ashrams, hospitals and others operating along the Ganga from February next year.
While the order has sent the government in a tizzy, there is no clarity on the formulation of strategy to tackle the problem.
“We do have another Act to regulate the use of polythene bags but due to opposition from businessmen at that time, it was left midway and the rules and guidelines were not framed. Now, with the NGT order, we have to review the issue once again,” said S. Ramaswamy, Principal Secretary, Forests and Environment.
Significantly, Chief Minister Harish Rawat had constituted new departments, including, for the first time, one to tackle biodegradable and plastic waste.
However, the exercise has proved to be futile and total confusion persists about the controlling department of this new department. “The section has been assigned to the Department of Urban Development while the overall responsibility of the department has been entrusted to the Department of Forest and Environment. As such, no work has started and no file is moving,” said an official.
Rather than taking proactive steps to issue guidelines about the use of polythene bags or any other issue that concerns people, the Uttarakhand government has been found wanting on this front.
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