While the Amritsar municipal corporation is all set to call tenders for the proposed solid waste treatment plant at Bhagtanwala on January 15, the residents of nearby localities, who had recently held a 42-day long protest against the dumping of garbage there and the proposed plant, plan to wage a legal war against the MC.
The residents are looking for legal remedies to get the construction of the proposed plant, which was to come up as a part of the second phase of the failed solid waste management project at Bhagtanwala, stalled. The residents of the localities around the Bhagtanwala landfill propose to approach the judiciary at almost the same time when the MC calls the tenders for the proposed project.
Their contention is that not only is the proposed plant hazardous for human health, but the MC has also obtained the no objection certificate (NOC) for going ahead with it in violation of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) rules, 2000, and by misrepresenting facts. "The MC has represented Bhagtanwala as a village, which is a misrepresentation of facts. This has been done to obtain an NOC," said Jai Inder Singh, a resident of Bhagtanwala area.
He maintained that under the MSW Handling and Management Rules, 2000, no NOC can be granted as per the conditions laid in the rule. "As per the act, there should be no human habitation, railway crossing or market near the site where a waste treatment plant is to be set up," he said.
Jai Inder Singh further said that even the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has urged the government to abstain from setting up a waste treatment plant here in view of the potential threat to the beauty of the Golden Temple, situated nearby.
"Just a few more days and we shall take the MC to the court as we do not want the proposed plant to come up there," said Sanjay Sharma, another resident. He added that certificates of those who had succumbed to ailments caused by the noxious gases emanating from the dump were also being obtained and would be appended with the petition to be filed in the court. "We are seeking advice as to the best possible legal remedies in this regard," he said.
Municipal commissioner Pradeep Sabharwal said that the Punjab and Haryana high court had given its clearance for the proposed plant to be erected at Bhagtanwala. "The area has also been designated for the same as per the city's master plan," he said.