Patna: Patna High Court today raised questions about the utility of Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC), wondering why the agency was needed if the city remained littered.
"What is the need of the PMC if the city is littered?" the division bench of Justice Iqbal Ahmed Ansari and Justice A.K. Trivedi observed while hearing a writ petition filed by one Suresh Prasad Yadav in connection with the garbage disposal system in the state capital.
The court's criticism comes at a time when the urban development and housing department has moved a proposal to dissolve the PMC for alleged failure to carry out its work. The proposal is before the chief minister.
Some PMC councillors are staging a protest against the proposed dissolution, saying it was against the spirit of democracy to disband an elected body midway through its term.
Even chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi had earlier termed the civic body "inefficient" when Patna had been crippled by severe waterlogging this monsoon.
The high court had, on September 2, expressed its displeasure with the government for failing to rid the city of waterlogging. Justice V.N. Sinha had then described Patna as the "dirtiest state capital" in the country and said he was "ashamed" to be a resident of the city.
While Manjhi has since been silent on the PMC's functioning or the lack of it, the court didn't stop today after questioning the utility of the civic agency and went on to admonish its officials.
"You people would understand the problem if you are surrounded by the filth," the bench of Justice Ansari and Justice Trivedi observed.
The court summoned PMC commissioner Kuldip Narayan to appear before it in person tomorrow and explain the situation in detail.
The judges also expressed displeasure over the failure of the civic agency to set up a garbage treatment plant at Ramchak Bairiya, located on the southern outskirts of the city, where at present waste from Patna is dumped.
PMC is sitting over a fund to the tune of Rs 23.09 crore since 2008. The fund was provided to it for a solid waste management project. As things stand now, the fund, which had been kept as fixed deposit by successive PMC commissioners, has grown to Rs 35.55 crore if one adds the interest.
Last month, urban development and housing department minister Samrat Choudhary laid the foundation stone of the Rs 249-crore solid waste treatment project at Ramchak Bairiya on a 75-acre plot. It is being executed by the Bihar Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation and the PMC has nothing to do with it.
PMC has been asked to use the idle fund - ie Rs 23.09 crore + interest - for purchasing sanitation equipment and door-to-door collection of waste.
A solid waste management project entails collection of garbage, its dumping at an identified place and then treatment of the collected waste.