The National Green Tribunal (NGT) will decide the case against the solid waste disposal plant (SWDP) at Ramdittewala village in this district, which has become a nuisance for those living in its vicinity.
The case was earlier being heard in the Punjab and Haryana high court that transferred it to the NGT on January 22 this year.
Petitioner Sukhdev Singh Mann, who lives near the plant, had filed a petition in the high court in 2007 against its construction. Besides the residential area, there is a dera close to the plant where followers hold religious meetings.
The Mansa municipal council had bought around 3.5 acres of land in 2002 but reportedly did not get approval for the plant from the PPCB. The PPCB gives approval to a landfill site only after observing that the land is fit for disposal of waste and is in accordance with the Municipal Solid Waste Management and Handling Rules.
According to these rules, a landfill site should be away from the habitation cluster, forest areas, water bodies, monuments, national parks, wetlands and places of important cultural, historical and religious interest. The waste disposed should be covered immediately at the end of each working day with 10cm of soil and there should be approach and other roads for free movement of vehicles.
In its reply, the PPCB Bathinda authorities had submitted in the high court that the landfill site identified by the Mansa MC was also not developed as per provisions of the municipal solid waste rules.
PPCB executive engineer Nazar Singh said, "The matter is now with the NGT and one or two hearings have been held. But till now we have not been summoned or asked to file a reply. The distance of the plant from the prohibited areas or residential areas is not clearly mentioned in the rules. We will abide by the NGT decision. The untreated sewage is harmful and soon the commissioning of the treatment plant in Mansa would be done."
Darshan Singh, a local, said, "The foul smell emanating from the place and the large number of flies and mosquitoes have made our life hell. A number of locals have been suffering from skin diseases. I am suffering from a skin disease, so is my relative. The groundwater here is polluted."
Petitioner Sukhdev Singh Mann said, "The landfill site has been wrongly chosen by the municipal council without any planning. The sewage water is being dumped here on 1.5 acres of land that is polluting the groundwater. Our life has been made hell by the disposal site that has no permission from the PPCB and is also against the norms."