Order of the High Court of Uttarakhand regarding opening of new peaks and trails for tourism and waste management in the state, 03/08/2022

  • 03/08/2022

Order of the High Court of Uttarakhand (Writ Petition (PIL) No. 93 of 2022) in the matter of Jitender Yadav Vs Union of India & Others.

The matter related to steps taken to clear the solid waste/ non-biodegradable plastic waste in Uttarakhand.

The High Court, July 7, 2022 had directed all the district magistrates in the state to submit status reports on the matter. The court noted that not even one status report has been filed by any of the district magistrates.

The petitioner in a supplementary affidavit has filed photographs, taken as late as August 2, 2022 near the Forest Training Institute; adjacent to the Staff Colony of the Medical College, Haldwani, as well as the Mandi Bypass Road, Haldwani, which show massive amounts of plastic waste, and other waste collected on the roadsides.

The court directed status reports be filed by the district magistrates by the next date (August 23, 2022). It is essential that the state of Uttarakhand make sufficient arrangements to deal with situations, which pose a challenge to the sanitation infrastructure, as well as to garbage collection and disposal infrastructure, whenever such large gatherings of people takes place.

It is essential that the state should take steps to sensitize the people - not only the local population, but also those, who are visiting places such as Haridwar, or other tourist/ religious places in the state, of their obligation to keep the places/ towns neat and clean, and free from garbage, the bench of Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and justice R.C. Khulbe said.

The court asked the petitioner to make a survey of the Haridwar district and to place before the court its findings with regard to the impact of the Kanwar Yatra in relation to solid waste pollution in the district.

Counsel for the State Pollution Control Board, submits that no clearance of the State Pollution Control Board has been obtained in the matter in relation to the opening of 30 new peaks and 10 trails in the state. He submits that the State Pollution Control Board shall prepare a report on Environmental Audit, which would cover all aspects such as provision of toilets, kitchens, garbage bins etc., and the manner in which the systems should be made to work.

He submitted that preparation of the said report would take about 25 days and, therefore, the state should refrain from opening the said new peaks and trails to await the report of the State Pollution Control Board. The court directed  the state to ensure that the Environmental Audit report of the State Pollution Control Board is obtained, which should be made within the next four weeks.

The state should further ensure that it actually complies with the same in all respects before actually opening the 30 new peaks and 10 trails, the order said.