Police Commissioner to get Tough on Vehicles Spilling Fish Waste Water on Streets
Mangaluru : Enough is enough- having given too many warnings to fish transporting vehicle owners/drivers not to spill fish waste water on the streets, now police commissioner after receiving complaints of the fish waste-water menace which were routine in the phone-in programme has said that anyone found discharging of waste water on roads will be slapped with hefty fine followed by seizure of vehicles. The district administration has decided to put an end to the issue of waste water being spilled by vehicles transporting fish and has directed all such vehicles to install waste-water collection tanks.
The administration had been claiming there were no set rules to prevent this nuisance. However, following frequent complaints from citizens/residents and media reports, the Mangaluru City police got the model followed by their Kerala counterparts. Kerala has strictly implemented directions from the southern bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) at Chennai in containing the menace. It is learnt that NGT, in its interim order on a petition by advocate P. Sasi from Thalassery in January 2013, had directed the government to prosecute drivers and persons responsible for the transportation of fish if the vehicles were found to be discharging waste water on roads.
In its final verdict on July 2, 2015, the NGT directed the Kerala government to ensure that all vehicles transporting fish were adequately insulated and made leak-proof. They should be fitted with waste-water collection tanks [50-litre capacity for 1 tonne capacity], while fish, mixed with ice, should only be transported in crates. Ever since this order, Kerala government is following the same. “We will issue notices to transporters from Monday asking them to install such tanks within a week. If the transporters fail to do so, a hefty fine up to Rs 5,000 will be imposed at the first instance, followed by seizure of vehicles for subsequent failures,” Police Commissioner Sandeep Patil told media.
He also said a separate proceeding would be initiated through the Regional Transport Authority headed by the Deputy Commissioner to draw concrete plans. “The menace has been there for years while people have constantly been complaining about it. We wanted to regulate it in a systematic manner so that the nuisance should not recur; it is not that authorities were mute to the problem,” added Patil
But in the meantime, while the administration have directed vehicles transporting fish to install waste-water collection tanks to prevent spillage on roads, the facility to discharge waste water safely appears to be non-existent, Hamza, driver of a pick-up van transporting fish, speaking to a reporter had said it was easy to compel vehicle owners/drivers to install collection tanks. “Where should we empty the waste water?” he asked, adding that they were forced to discharge waste water at secluded locations fearing backlash from people. There is no facility either at the market or at fish-processing units to discharge waste water, he said.
As per rules, Markets and fish-processing units should have adequate septic tanks and soak-pit systems to receive waste water. The Tribunal had said all major markets, owned by local authorities, should provide septic tanks on their premises. Fish landing centres and auction centres, markets etc., should be modernized and equipped with storage facilities to handle fish. Goa has facilitated the discharge of wastewater into local underground sewage system at select locations. However, there is no such facility in Karnataka. Acts and regulations on marine fishing are silent on this.
Marine products harvested along the Karnataka coast are transported from minor ports, including Karwar, Belikeri, Tadadi, Honnavara, Bhatkal, Maravanthe, Gangolli, Hangarakatte, Malpe and Mangaluru, to different parts of the State as well as places in Goa and Kerala. All along the route, most of these vehicles spill waste water on roads even as the crew close the tap of the tanks whenever they approach villages or towns to escape people’s ire. Many large trucks, which installed collection tanks, were found to be discharging wastewater on the flanks of highways.
Inputs from The Hindu-Mangaluru
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