Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, September 22
Solid waste management has become a burning issue in Jalandhar. As the existing dump is full to the brim and the proposed waste management plant is facing opposition from the locals, waste is being burnt openly at the roadsides.
The mass movement initiated by nine villages against the setting up of a solid waste-to-energy plant at Jamsher village has dealt a huge blow to the solid waste management programme here.
Following the overfilling of the lone Wariana dump and the mass immolation threat given by villagers against the setting up of the plant inside Jamsher dairy complex, Jindal ITF — the firm that will implement solid waste management in four out of the eight clusters in the state Jalandhar, Bathinda, Ferozepur and Patiala — and Municipal Corporation of Jalandhar (MCJ) workers have started 'burning' waste openly at various places in the city.
Obsolete tech: Expert
Experts said that the incinerator technology being approved by the state-level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (EIAA) was discarded by Western and European countries 20 years ago. It had failed in almost all the projects set up in India after 1986.
Delhi-based environmentalist and public policy expert Gopal Krishan said that opting for the outdated technology would lead to health hazards as dangerous as 'chemical warfare'.
The proposed plant situated inside a dairy complex housing 16,000 cattle has also been the point of contention since its inception.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) guidelines clearly indicate that any incineration technology-based waste processing plant should have a buffer zone of around 500m on all sides. But the EIAA has given approval to set up a plant inside the dairy complex which is supplying milk to the entire district and its vicinity.
The 6 MW thermal power plant is proposed to process around 1,200 metric tonnes of solid waste collected from 24 municipalities in the Jalandhar cluster. The daily movement is expected to be around 200 trucks passing through the middle of Jalandhar city and around a dozen densely populated villages en route the dairy complex.
The villagers have accused Municipal Corporation of Jalandhar (MCJ) of conducting a mock survey to get the clearance from EIAA.
Former area MLA Jagbir Brar said that it had become evident during a public meeting held on September 30, 2011 at the proposed site. When the surveyor from the firm that prepared the site plan was asked to identify the north direction, he failed to do so.
"Also, he did not know the distance to the nearest residential site, the nearest gurdwara and Nanak Pindi village from the site when asked by the villagers," claimed Brar.
The villagers are tooth and nail against the proposed plant and are threatening a mass immolation. Local MLA Pargat Singh said that the villagers here were once known for their cleanliness and were also awarded 'Nirmal Gram Puraskar' by former President Pratibha Patil in 2009.
"Now the MCJ wants them to die under huge dumps of solid waste to be collected from 27 municipalities in the Jalandhar cluster. I will not let that happen," he said.
Following the overfilling of the Wariana dump, sanitation workers have reduced the lifting of 550 metric tonnes of waste everyday to 225 metric tonnes. Despite the halving of the volume being lifted and no processing taking place, the MCJ continues to pay Rs 20 lakh per month to JITF.
Sanitation workers have started burning solid waste in broad daylight on various roadsides and secluded places, including green belt areas and parks.
Most Read In 24 Hours
Don't MissView All
Amritpal Singh's uncle flown to Dibrugarh jail in Assam as search for 'Waris Punjab De' chief enters day 4
A cavalcade of seven security vehicles took Harjit Singh fro...
Mobile internet services to remain suspended in 4 Punjab districts, parts of Mohali, Amritsar districts till Thursday noon
Mobile internet services in the remaining areas of the state...
Pro-Khalistan protesters tried to set on fire India's consulate in San Francisco
2 bearded men wearing a cap poured flammable material at the...
San Francisco Police urged to take immediate action against those responsible for Indian consulate vandalism
Indian-Americans express outrage at the incidents of vandali...
Can't confirm: US on providing real-time intelligence to India to tackle China last year
Pentagon provided real-time intelligence to Indian Army on I...