With the Punjab government paying no heed to repeated public protests over the location of its proposed Solid Waste Management (SWM) Plant at Bhagtanwala, chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) Inderbir Singh Bolaria, who is spearheading a protest, is contemplating a legal course.
Despite the stir having completed a fortnight, no one from the government turned up to hold talks with the agitating Bhagtanwala residents. When Bolaria, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLA from Amritsar south assembly segment — in which the Bhagtanwala landfill site falls — joined hands with the protesters, the government drew flaks from opposition parties, yet no move was made to find an amicable solution to the issue.
Being aware of the fact that his political career is at stake on the issue, Bolaria has made it clear to the government that the SWMP will not be located at Bhagtanwala, and wants the Amritsar municipal corporation (MC) to stop dumping of city’s garbage there.
Mayor Bakshi Ram Arora is not giving too much thought to the ongoing dharna at the dumping site and considers it a “politically sponsored” agitation.
“Sometimes the Congress will start a dharna and sometimes someone else. Now it’s Bolaria who is sitting on dharna,” he said, while categorically admitting that so far no move was made by his office to contact the agitators.
Talking to Hindustan Times here on Wednesday, the mayor made it clear that the SWM plant would be located at the Bhagtanwala site. “The MC has already floated tenders for setting the plant, and has invited bids from companies which have expertise in the management of municipal waste,” he added.
“We are specifically following the orders of the court, which has decided that the waste plant will be located at the particular site. Even the Master Plan for Amritsar, prepared about 10 years back, has marked Bhagtanwala for locating the SWM plant. We put this before the court when some residents wanted the plant to be shifted,” he said.
He also ruled out the shifting of the garbage dump from Bhagtanwala to some other locality. In this context, he cited a court order in a recent case filed by residents of Fattapur village after the MC started dumping garbage in the vicinity of the village under pressure.
“Instead of agitating, Bhagtanwala residents should approach the court for settling the matter,” he said.
Bolaria likely to approach court
Bolaria seems to have taken the mayor’s advice, and is contemplating to take a legal course into the matter.
“I am hopeful of a solution by the chief minister and the deputy chief minister in the next few days. However, if the matter is not sorted out, the last option will be left with us to approach the court,” he added.