The Himachal Pradesh High Court has suggested the State Government to empower the local bodies to levy solid waste management charges upon tourist at the entry point.

The Court was dealing with a batch of petitions seeking to enforce the provisions of environmental laws in the State.

A Division Bench comprising Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice Sushil Kukreja said, “We would impress upon the State Government to empower the Local Bodies to levy solid waste management charges upon tourists at the entry point to make the solid waste management services sustainable. … The Government could take a cue from Bhutan where in September, 2022, it imposed a sustainable development fee of dollars 200 per day per visitor. However, fee was cut by half from September 2023 and fixed at dollar 100 per day per tourist and and in the case of children age 6 to 12 years, they were required to pay dollar 50 per child and there was no fee for children age 5 or under.”

Advocate Deven Khanna appeared for the petitioners while Additional Advocate General Sharmila Patial appeared for the respondents.

The High Court issued the following directions in this case:

• All the entities, who have not yet applied for the Extended Producer Responsibility (“EPR”) registration shall submit the cases within one month from today and for any query, the Units shall approach the Regional Offices (“ROs”) between 4.00-5.00 p.m.

• Recycler (s) shall submit the detail of the quantity of plastic waste processed to the HPSPCB on quarterly basis.

• All the PIBOs shall submit the detail of the plastic waste generated from their product in the State of H.P. and the PIBOs are directed to collaborate with the Urban Local Bodies (“ULBs”) and Gram Panchayats (“Gps”) through Waste Management Agencies and work out the modalities of effective collection, segregation and processing of plastic waste through registered PWPs in the State. A detailed report in this regard shall be submitted to HPSPCB within one month.

• The ULBs are directed to deploy sufficient manpower for ensuring 100% segregation and collection and it should be ensured through outsource agencies as well.

• Strict penalty will be imposed by the ULBs for violation of segregation at source and littering. For the safe transportation of segregated waste compartmentalization of garbage collection vehicles shall be done by ULBs and it shall be ensured that only compartmentalization vehicles are used for transportation which direction shall be a mandatory condition for outsourced agencies deployed for this purpose. The funds, if any, required for compartmentalizing by ULBs shall be met out from the tied grants or out of their own resources.

The Court issued many other directions as well with respect to the wet and dry waste. It said that the entire exercise being undertaken by the Court would not yield its desired results in absence of waste audit.

The Court requested the Integrated Mountain Initiative (IMI) Society, Shimla who have conducted similar audit survey in Ladakh to conduct waste audit as expeditiously as possible and try to hand over their report by September 30, 2024.

Accordingly, the High Court listed the case on May 6, 2024.

Cause Title- Suleman and others v. Union of India and others a/w connected matters


Petitioners: Advocates Deven Khanna, Parav Sharma, and Shekhar Badola.

Respondents: Additional Advocate General Sharmila Patial, DSGI Balram Sharma, Advocates Tara Singh Chauhan, Maan Singh, Virbahadur Verma, Adarsh K. Vashista, Priya Sharma, and Mukul Sood.

Click here to read/download the Order