Anguished over the apathetic attitude of BJP leaders over the issue of the garbage dump at Bhagtanwala and the reluctance of mayor Bakshi Ram Arora over shifting the proposed solid waste treatment plant to an alternate site, the residents of localities in the area plan to 'gherao' the mayor's office on Friday.
The decision to 'gherao' the mayor's office at Town Hall comes a day after the Amristar municipal corporation (MC) made it clear that it was looking for alternate sites for the dump.
The residents' grouse stems from the fact that even as leaders from various political parties have supported their demand for the shifting of the dump and relocation of the proposed solid waste treatment plant, mayor Arora remains resolute about the construction of the plant at Bhagtanwala.
"The mayor has not even visited the spot once and has been issuing 'anti-public' statements, which have left the residents of localities around the dump demoralised," said Sanjay Sharma, a resident. The residents of localities around the dump said that their protest has entered the 18th day, but the mayor was still unmoved by their plight.
"The residents are so agitated by the mayor's stance over the issue that they have decided to gherao his office on Friday," said Jagpreet Singh, another resident.
The residents claimed that not only the mayor, but all BJP leaders were insensitive to their plight. They alleged that the proposal to construct the treatment plant at the dump was in contravention of the norms laid under the Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Rules-2000.
"This is the city of local bodies minister Anil Joshi, who is one of the top BJP leaders in the state. However, nothing has been done to alleviate the woes of residents living in localities close to the dump," Singh said.
Nursing college students protest
Meanwhile, the students of Chief Khalsa Diwan (CKD) International Nursing College, who had staged a demonstration seeking removal of the dump at Bhagtanwala a few days ago, held another protest on Wednesday.
Stating that their health and studies were being affected by the presence of the dump, the protesting students urged the Amritsar municipal corporation officials to expedite the relocation of the dump, besides ensuring that alternate landfill sites are identified at the earliest for dumping the city's waste.
When contacted, mayor Arora said, "As far as erecting solid waste treatment plant at the Bhagtanwala dump is concerned, this is not exactly my idea, but the decision of the government.
Besides, there are court orders in this regard. As the mayor, it is my responsibility to see that the project comes through".
He maintained that there was no point in his visiting the spot of the agitation as the protesting residents were not willing to listen to the MC authorities.