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HC raises stink over waste

Cuttack, Nov. 15: The debate over disposal of bio-medical wastes got a fresh lease of life today after the high court sought a status report on it from the state pollution control board.

Maitree Sansad, a city-based voluntary organisation, had filed a PIL alleging that the indifferent attitude of the state government towards adopting prescribed norms and methods for the disposal of bio-medical wastes had endangered the lives of patients in the three medical college hospitals and of the people at large.

The PIL was admitted in June 2003 and the hearing was closed in January this year. The case had since been listed for judgment today.

The division bench of Chief Justice S.B. Roy and Justice M.M. Das, however, issued directions to the pollution control board to take stock of the situation afresh in the three government hospitals attached to the medical colleges at Burla, Berhampur and Cuttack and ordered for the listing of the PIL in February 2007.

Earlier the pollution control board had, in an affidavit, endorsed the allegations about the violation of the provisions of the Bio-Medical Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 1998, and Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

The board had identified 497 hospitals, nursing homes and other units generating bio-medical waste. Out of the 497 healthcare units, 244 were in the government sector.

The board had authorised M/s Sani Clean Pvt Limited to set up a bio-medical waste treatment and disposal plant at Khurda and come up with a common treatment facility, the affidavit had stated.

Hearing on the PIL was closed after the government assured that a project on hospital waste management with the installation of auto clave and incinerators at the three medical college hospitals would be completed by March.

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