A day after HT reported about Vikhroli (East) residents complaining to the police about the unbearable stench from the Kanjurmarg dumping ground, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) officials visited the dumping grounds in Kanjurmarg and Mulund on Friday to assess the solid waste management facilities.
MPCB officials told HT that while excessive stench from the decaying garbage was emanating at the Kanjurmarg dumping ground, the solid waste management procedures ‘seemed to be in place’.
While a closure notice was given to Mulund dumping ground on August 20, and garbage management contractors employed by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) were given 15 days to comply, they continued to deposit more garbage at the ground than permissible, the officials said.
Dilip Khedkar, regional officer, MPCB, said, “The pollution control board has issued directions to the municipal commissioner to stop the dumping of municipal solid waste (MSW) at Mulund site, in a letter dated August 20. MCGM also has issued a termination notice to the contractor at the site.”
Khedkar added if MCGM did not comply with their notice, criminal proceedings in court will be initiated. “At the Mulund site, while MSW was being dumped, waste is not being processed scientifically as per Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000. At Kanjurmarg, the contractors should process the MSW as per environment clearance granted by government of India environment department and consent granted by MPCB.”
MP Kirit Somaiya, who visited the sites with the MPCB and civic officials, said: “If the BMC had to comply with MPCB’s notice, they should have done it by September 5. The fact is the Mulund dumping ground is still functioning. There seems to be some confusion and the residents continue to suffer.”
Somaiya said he will file a criminal case against the BMC, MPCB and the contractors on Saturday at Mulund (East) police station. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had also issued a notice to the civic body on August 11, asking them to submit corrective measures to prevent excess dumping in Mulund and Kanjurmarg and present an action plan before September 15.
Pallavi Darade, additional municipal commissioner and in-charge of solid waste management department, said, “We have started scientific processing of waste at the Kanjurmarg dumping site. The dumping was started with environment clearance and permission from the Central government. Also, we keep checking air and water quality nearby area.”
“For Mulund and Deonar dumping ground the termination process of contract given for processing is initiated since they have not started scientific process,” she added.
Don’t grant lease to civic body: NGO to govt
Non-government organisation (NGO) Vanashakti on Friday wrote to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, requesting the state government to not grant the lease of land for handling waste at the Kanjurmarg dumping ground to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)
Only builders’ lobby will benefit: Environmentalist
Alleging that lease to the civic body will eventually benefit of the builders’ lobby, Stalin D, project director, said, “If the lease is given, the land will be subleased to the contractor who will mortgage the land to banks and financial institutions to raise money for the operations at the sites”
Stalin said while the estimated cost of waste handling in Kanjurmarg site stands at is several hundred crores, the contractor with a paid up capital of Rs 87 lakh was appointed by the MCGM and with no expertise in the field of handling municipal waste in a scientific manner
Contractor will mishandle waste: Letter
According to the letter: “The contractor will default and mishandle waste, and eventually the grounds will have to be shut down due to pollution and environment laws violations. When this happens, the banks will take possession of the lands and will sell it to builders. This is nothing but another attempt to grab land for the developers lobby.”
“The MCGM should be asked to explain why they have chosen to give the work to an entity with little financial backing. Please do not allow the lease to be executed in favour of MCGM as it will only pave the way for land sharks to move in and gobble vast tracts public lands,” the letter read.