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Illegal Waste Management: Local Body Secretaries Entitled to Slap Penalty of Rs 5,000 on Spot

In Kerala, Uncategorized
December 11, 2023

Violating waste management rules will attract a maximum fine of Rs 50,000 and imprisonment of up to one year under the laws amended as part of the ongoing garbage-free Kerala campaign.

If the violators fail to pay the fine, it will be added to public tax arrears, according to the Kerala Panchayat Raj (Amendment) Ordinance 2023 and Kerala Municipality (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023 promulgated last week.

The secretary of local self-government bodies has been empowered to enforce punitive measures. They can impose fines after hearing the violators by giving notice.

The secretary is also empowered to assign duties to the officials of the local bodies to take necessary measures for waste management.

The fine imposed by the secretary against dumping in public and private land has been increased to Rs 5,000.

The secretary can spend an amount not exceeding Rs 2 lakh from the related fund to carry out the duties assigned to him by informing the president.

MB Rajesh, Minister for Local Self-Governments, described the law amendments as a significant initiative taken up as part of the Malinya Muktha Keralam campaign.

“The amendment has placed more responsibilities on waste generators and increased the level of fines that can be levied on them for failure to do so,” he said.

“Penalties should be heavy to serve as a deterrent against the potential environmental and public health damages to strengthen the sustainable future of the state.”

The local bodies are duty-bound to implement government orders concerning waste management.

If they do not make decisions in accordance with the directives within one month, then they are deemed to have approved or given permission to implement them.

The ordinances also allow the government to impose fines on the local self-government bodies if they do not follow the instructions.

They can reward those who inform the secretary in writing about the violations to ensure the involvement of the public and make them aware of its importance.

It is the duty of the owners and occupiers of the shops to keep their premises clean and to ensure that no customer litters or sets fire.

The local authorities can also confiscate vehicles used for improper disposal of garbage or excrement.

The local self-government should prioritise finding its own or private land for waste management. If needed, private land can be acquired according to the existing laws.

If any waste generator defaults in paying the user fee in 90 days, it will go to arrears of public tax with a penalty of fifty per cent per month.

The secretary can also deny local self-government services to those who do not pay the user fee until the same is paid.

The local bodies can exempt weaker sections from the user fee as they deem fit, following government guidelines.

The waste generated during meetings and public programmes has to be disposed of permanently.

The local bodies must be informed of events where more than 100 people gather in an unlicensed place at least three days in advance.

The waste generated must be handed over to the designated refuse collectors or agencies upon payment of a fee fixed by local authorities.

Incentives such as tax exemptions and welfare schemes may be provided to the people living near the waste disposal facilities as per government directives.

Fines or penalties, corporate social responsibility contributions or sponsorships and others prescribed by the government should be deposited into the Waste Management Fund to be created.

The local bodies can utilise the funds for waste management-related activities and to increase productivity.