Ludhiana, November 18
The illegal dumping of solid waste into the Sidhwan Canal has remained a significant concern for years now. Although the Municipal Corporation (MC) is installing fencing barriers along the canal to discourage waste disposal, it has failed to remove a major garbage dump situated along the canal bank near Gill Road Bridge. Environmental activists have been demanding the MC and Irrigation Department to ensure removal of the garbage dump, but to no avail.
Voicing concerns over the dumping of solid waste, plastic bags, and other non-biodegradable materials into the canal, which is slated to serve as the source for the upcoming World Bank-funded 24x7 canal-based water supply project in the city, activists approached the National Green Tribunal (NGT) last year.
On July 2, the NGT recorded the MC’s stance on cleaning the canal. At that time, the civic body officials had claimed that approximately 90 per cent of the garbage had been cleared and the remaining 10 per cent would be cleaned within the next three months. They then directed the MC to dispose of the remaining solid waste at the dump site within three months and submit a subsequent action report. Unfortunately, the waste dump persists still.
According to officials, the MC has identified suitable land for the installation of a portable compactor transfer station to facilitate the transfer of secondary collection points and has corresponded with the Punjab Mandi Board. MC’s report, submitted to the NGT, indicates that the issue of land allocation is still pending. On November 2, the NGT directed the Municipal Commissioner to ensure compliance with NGT’s directives from the order dated July 21, 2023, within eight weeks. Failure to do so would result in the Municipal Commissioner of Ludhiana personally appearing before the Tribunal through virtual mode on the next scheduled hearing on January 11, 2024.
Environmental activist Mahinder Singh Sekhon said waste from the garbage dump often falls into thecanal. In response, they have organised multiple protests advocating the removal of this dump. Despite these efforts, the MC is yet to address the problem. “While fencing has been installed, it is not considered a reliable solution. Nobody should be allowed to dump garbage along the canal”, he added.
Kuldeep Singh Khaira, one of the petitioners who moved the NGT regarding waste dumping in the canal, emphasised the need for concrete and stringent measures to be implemented by both the Irrigation Department and the Municipal Corporation to prevent the deposition of solid and other kinds of waste in Sidhwan Canal.
In January, a project was initiated to install chain-linked iron fencing along the 13-kilometer stretch of the canal within the city limits. This project, costing Rs 6.64 crore, aims to deter residents from dumping waste into the canal as per officials. Balwinder Singh, the MC’s Executive Engineer, said that 95% of the chain-link fencing project has been completed thus far.
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