Don’t be mistaken that trucks coming from the Queen of Hills carry only apples! From Monday, the City Beautiful will daily receive six truckloads of solid waste (60 tonnes) from Shimla for processing at the Dadumajra plant in Sector 25.
This is being done on the directions of National Green Tribunal due to non-availability of garbage processing plant in the vicinity of the hill town.
Being run by Jai Prakash Associate Limited, the Sector 25 plant is already treating nearly 250 tonnes of solid waste daily generated from Chandigarh.
Chandigarh MC joint commissioner Rajeev Gupta said, “We have not received any order from the NGT. Once we receive it, the matter will be taken up with the higher authorities.”
RD Sharma, in-charge of the processing plant in Chandigarh, said, “The plant is already treating nearly 250 tonnes of waste from Chandigarh. The additional 60 tonne waste coming from Shimla will burden the plant further.” Sharma said six vehicles coming to Chandigarh daily from Shimla also cause pollution. “Also, Shimla MC will have to bear huge transportation charges daily for disposing of the solid waste at Chandigarh which 100 km away. This arrangement doesn’t appear viable,” he said.
The National Green Tribunal order has put the Himachal government as well as the Shimla Municipal Corporation in a quandary, as they find it difficult to transport the garbage generated in Shimla to Chandigarh. “We are really perplexed by the NGT order. It is difficult to transport the entire garbage to Chandigarh but we are working on the directions. But it will be difficult for us to meet the transportation cost,” said deputy mayor Tikender Panwar told Hindustan Times.
The NGT order came in the wake of closure of solid waste management plant at Bhariyal on the outskirts of the hill city. On daily basis’s about 70 to 80 tonne of solid waste is collected from household in 25 wards of Shimla.
The garbage is collected door to door by the workers of Shimla Environmental and Heritage Society. As per the Census in 2011, Shimla has a population of 1,69,578.
The National Green Tribunal has asked the Chandigarh administration to accept the garbage from the hill town for disposal at its solid waste management plant.
Garbage processing crisis in the hill town
The Shimla Municipal Corporation established its first scientific waste processing and treatment unit with Norwegian assistance in 2001 at Darni-kaBaghicha, which created nuisance for the public and tourists. After the intervention of Himachal Pradesh High Court, the government decided to set up a new treatment and disposal facility outside the municipal limits on Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.
The proposal faced acute resistance from the nearby villages and matter was finally put up to the National Green Tribunal which gave clearance for setting up the facility in 2012. The new waste treatment facility was commissioned in June 2013.
The plant was closed down three months back when the operator company fled after setting the garbage on fire. Owing to closure of the facility, the civic body lodged an FIR against the plant operator.