Just a few days after the residents of localities near the Bhagtanwala dump called off their protest following assurances that garbage would not be dumped there any longer and the proposed solid waste treatment plant would be shifted from there, the two ditch machines deployed in the area to clear garbage, which had spilled into the adjoining locales, were called off leaving these localities as filthy as ever before.
The machines were deployed there previously at the behest of chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) Inderbir Singh Bolaria, who is MLA from Amritsar South where the Bhagtanwala garbage dump is located, for levelling the massive mounds of garbage. Sources said that these machines had been removed from Bhagtanwala dump and sent to Fatahpur to level the garbage that had been dumped there.
Garbage dumping remains suspended at Bhagtanwala due to the unresolved standoff at Bhagtanwala and at Fatahpur as well where the residents, supported by BJP national secretary Tarun Chugh had given an ultimatum to the MC to look for another dumping ground. This has led to squalor on the streets of Amritsar as lifting remains suspended in the absence of a dumping ground.
However, far from making Bhagtanwala any cleaner, the confrontation between the residents and MC has only added to the mess. At a time when the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, aims at making the streets of India clean, Bhagtanwala, the site designated for the proposed solid waste treatment plant, remains mired in squalor and controversy.
A recent letter of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to Amritsar municipal corporation seeking to know the status of the action plan for the proposed solid waste treatment plant had brought the Bhagtanwala residents out again on the roads a few days after they called off their protest. However, the residents are banking on the assurance given by Bolaria that all possible efforts would be made to ensure that the proposed plant does not to come up there.
Meanwhile, Bolaria said, "The main problem at present is the filth and squalor prevailing on the streets of Amritsar, which needs to be tackled immediately in the absence of an alternate landfill for dumping garbage. We are having serious deliberations over the issue and whatever decisions are taken in these meetings would be implemented at the earliest for the welfare of the residents of these areas and the city on the whole".