Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Jagatsinghpur, Nov 12:
In what is being touted as the first such case in Odisha, the SDJM court in Jagatsinghpur has awarded 6-month imprisonment to former Additional District Medical Officer (ADMO) Dr Nityananda Panda for failure in disposal of hospital waste and violation of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
In his verdict delivered yesterday, SDJM Alekh Kumar Pradhan also imposed a penalty of Rs 50,000 on Panda and further one-month in prison in case he fails to deposit the penalty.
Besides, the court also slapped a penalty of Rs 50,000 on the authorities of the district headquarters hospital.
The directive of the court came on Tusday at the end of hearing in a criminal case filed by the Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OPSCB) against Panda.
It may be mentioned that the Odisha High Court in 2009 had asked the Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) to register criminal cases against the medical authorities for improper waste disposal management in gross violation of Environment (Protection) Rules.
Acting on the directive of the court, the Board had given provisional authorisation for one year to the Jagatsinghpur hospital for disposal of waste.
However, the Board during its inspection of the hospital on April 4, 2010, found gross irregularities in waste management by the hospital authorities.
Taking strong exception to the lackadaisical attitude of the hospital authorities, the Board had issued a show cause notice to them on May 1, 2010.
However, Dr Panda, who was in charge of waste management, did not furnish any reply to the Board, which later informed the High Court about the non-compliance.
On the orders of the High Court, the Board later filed a criminal case against Dr Panda in the SDJM court, Jagatsinghpur which, after going through the case, awarded him 6-month prison term yesterday.
Dr Panda, in the meanwhile, has retired from his service.