HindustanTimes Fri,26 Dec 2014

Fate of Solid Waste Management Project in DMC hangs in balance

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Dehradun, August 22, 2014
First Published: 15:43 IST(22/8/2014) | Last Updated: 15:47 IST(22/8/2014)

A significant portion of funds issued for the purpose of executing Integrated Municipal Solid Waste Management Project in the Dehradun Municipal Corporation (DMC) area is lying unused with the Doon civic body. Reason: The DMC is still awaiting a final nod from union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) for the project.

Launched in 2008, the DMC has been able to utilise only 40% of the total project cost while uncertainty prevails over the remaining funds in absence of environmental clearance.

The solid waste project was introduced in the state capital under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme of the central government with an aim to achieve scientific collection, disposal and processing of around 250 metric tonnes of waste generated in the city every day. Out of the Rs. 24.60-crore project, Rs. 15.99 crore has been released by the government.

However, only Rs. 9.84 crore (or 40% of the total project cost) has been spent under various heads so far. The remaining amount of Rs. 8.61 crore is yet to be released by the government owing to lack of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) clearance. According to the Project Implementation Unit (PIU) Cell of the DMC, any further expenditure/breakthrough in the solid waste project will take place only after the final go-ahead is received from the union ministry for the proposed solid waste management plant at Shishambara.

Ninu Sehgal, leader of the opposition in the DMC, said it was highly unfortunate that no development work was taking place despite availability of funds. He said the DMC should make efforts to seek the EIA clearance, especially when the city is reeling under acute garbage menace.

It is worth recalling that the solid waste project was to be executed in two broad phases in Dehradun. While the first phase of door-to-door collection began way back in 2011, the second phase comprising construction of waste processing plant at Shishambara has been stuck because the approval is still awaited.

Mukhya nagar adhikari (MNA) Harak Singh Rawat said though the talks were held with Environmental Impact Assessment committee in June 2013, the final go-ahead is still awaited. He said this was delaying the project work.

The funds so far have been spent on buying garbage collection vehicles, building waste transfer station at Brahamanwala (which is currently under litigation), boundary wall construction around the site of proposed Shishambara waste processing plant, and consultancy charges.

It is worth recalling that the project was first approved in May 2008, followed by issuance of the first installment of funds in August 2008.

more from Dehradun

‘Central aid to state rose in past 3 yrs, but growth slow’

The annual assistance from the Centre to the state has increased in last few financial years, according to official statistics, even though the Uttarakhand government has been firing salvos at the central government over it.
Two days ago, the state Congress unit demanded `4,000 crore financial assistance from the centre.
According to the central statistics office figures, the Centre released `4883.74 crores for the state in 2011-12. It released `4717.68 crores in 2012-2013. And in 2013-2014, it increased the assistance to `5418.60 crores.

Uttarakhand is one of the 11 Himalayan states which enjoy special category status besides Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim.
These special category states have to make part payment to the centre in lieu of getting funds for centrally-sponsored schemes.
Interestingly, on an average, central assistance has been substantial for the state though it has not helped Uttarakhand in increasing its Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) which is total monetary value of goods and services produced by a state economy in a given year.
“GSDP depends on various factors like rate of savings and investments and overall business atmosphere. But that doesn’t mean the state does not need help,” said Surender Kumar, media in-charge for CM adding that the state needs more funds.
The figures for Uttarakhand GSDP growth at constant (2004-5) price (as on 01-08-2014) was 9.36% in 2011-12. It was 5.61% in 2012-13 and 5.65% in 2013-2014.
Sometime back Planning Commission constituted a committee to study development in hill states arising from management of forest land with special focus on creation of infrastructure, livelihood and human development.
The report of the committee was discussed in Internal Planning Committee meeting held in February this year.
A Planning Commission note claimed that IPC broadly endorsed the recommendations of the committee. The report has also been forwarded to states for further inputs.

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