Burking the protest staged by residents quite close by, the Amritsar Municipal Corporation on Tuesday resumed the process of dumping garbage at the Bhagtanwala land fill. The dumping was done amidst heavy police deployment with the civic body playing hide-and-seek with the protestors and approaching the dump site through the by-lanes.
On Tuesday, the civic body unladed at least 20 trucks of garbage at the Bhagtanwala dumpsite, which it approached through a privately owned piece of land situated nearby. All this happened while the residents of the localities around the dump were holding a demonstration at the approach to the dump on Tarn Taran road.
Instead of traversing the usual route to the dump, the MC skirted the area and chose to approach the dump through a private lane. At least 20 trucks laden with garbage made it to the dump and back. However, dumping was ceased soon after as the trucks that followed later were not allowed to pass through as the owner of the land had not been intimated about the same.
The move of the MC to resume the dumping of garbage at Bhagtanwala comes at a time when a court order has barred the MC from dumping garbage at Fatahpur, where the city's solid waste was being tipped after dumping was suspended at Bhagtanwala following protests by residents of Bhagtanwala in November and December last year. Sources said that the MC previously intended to resume dumping at Bhagtanwala in June, but had to do so in advance in the absence of a third alternative to serve as a suitable landfill for the city.
The development comes at a time when the residents of localities around the Bhagtanwala landfill have approached the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on the grounds that the dump has come up there in violation of the MSW 2000 Rules and have demanded its relocation and the NGT too has issued orders to Punjab government to look into the claims and objections of the residents.
In keeping with the orders of the NGT, Sarvesh Kaushal, Chief Secretary, Punjab, has directed the Secretary, Science, Technology and Environment and Secretary, Local Government to begin 'immediate appropriate action' into representation sent to the Punjab government by Bhagtanwala residents on the orders of the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
While their counterparts staged a protest near the dump site, a delegation of the residents visited Chandigarh to seek legal advice in this regard. The protesting residents also claimed that a court order passed in 2012 had barred the MC from dumping garbage at Bhagtanwala landfill and termed this action of the MC as that amounting to contempt.
"All of a sudden the MC seems to have become so prompt. While in other cases it usually waits till the orders are available in black and white, this time it seems to be in a hurry to resume dumping at Bhagtanwala," said Sanjay Sharma, a resident. However, Municipal Commissioner Pradeep Sabharwal could not be contacted for his comments despite repeated attempts.