The Uttarakhand high court asked the state government to prepare solid waste management plans for all towns and villages, and ensure land allotment for disposal sites in three months’ time.
The BJP, which won 57 of the state’s 70 assembly seats, will form the new government on Saturday. Trivendra Singh Rawat, elected as the BJP Legislative Party leader on Friday, will take oath as the chief minister in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Giving its ruling on multiple public interest litigations (PILs) on Thursday, the high court asked the government to provide adequate garbage management facilities across the state in the stipulated time. Fixing accountability for land allotment on district magistrates (DMs), the court directed them to work in coordination with the urban development department.
Experts said executing the task will be a tall order for the new government, given the poor waste disposal infrastructure in the state. According to a Centre’s report, 74% village households in Uttarakhand lack sites for garbage disposal; 60% of urban local bodies have no proper waste disposal sites and mechanism.
“Executing the high court’s order will be a big challenge for the new government as most of the towns and villages in the state lack proper dumping sites, leave alone scientific ones,” said Brij Mohan Sharma, secretary of Dehradun-based Society of Pollution and Environmental Conversation Scientists (SPECS). Unscientific garbage disposal is “quite detrimental” for the hill state’s environment, he added.
“The biggest issue is lack of resources, proper planning and availability of land sites for disposing waste. The new government should take up these issues in a planned and phase-wise manner to ensure execution of the court order,” a retired official of the urban development department told HT on Friday.
Uttarakhand currently generates about 3,000 metric tons of solid waste per day, of which approximately 50% is lifted and disposed through unscientific methods.
Dehradun mayor and newly elected BJP MLA Vinod Chamoli, who has a long experience in dealing with waste management issues, said he will liaise with the government to ensure that waste management gets its due. “Our government will look into it on a priority basis,” Chamoli told HT.
The court asked urban local bodies to ensure cleanliness in public places, parks and streets on Sundays and public holidays, besides ensuring distribution of two free dustbins to all households across the cities.
3000 metric tons: Total waste generated in Uttarakhand per day
74% village households in Uttarakhand lack sites for garbage disposal
60% urban local bodies lack proper waste disposal sites