While only time will tell where the proposed solid waste treatment plant actually comes up, a communiqué sent by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to the Amritsar municipal corporation seeking details of the proposed plant drove Bhagtanwala area residents out of their houses on Thursday, five days after they had put off their 42-day-long protest.
The plant is proposed to come up at the Bhagtanwala landfill site under the second phase of the solid waste management project, which was halted when Antony Waste Handling Cell Private Limited pulled out in August 2012.
However, the residents of Bhagtanwala area have been protesting for the relocation of the proposed project citing health problems due to the landfill.
They called off their protest on Sunday following an assurance by chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) Inderbir Singh Bolaria, who is also an MLA from Amritsar south where the Bhagtanwala dump is situated, that the dump would be covered with mud and a public park would be erected on the covered landfill site.
However, the NGT letter to the MC regarding the proposed plant has raised concerns among the residents, who again held a protest near the dump reiterating their demand for its relocation.
“We are worried since the NGT’s letter came to the MC. The plant should not come up at Bhagtanwala as it will have a negative impact not just on the health of residents living nearby, but the entire city. It should be built outside the city,” said a Bhagtanwala resident. Bhagtanwala “CPS Bolaria has assured us that our demands will be fulfilled,” he added.
During their previous protest, the residents had urged the authorities concerned to reconsider the proposal and relocate the plant.
Meanwhile, various NGOs too had opposed the construction of the plant at Bhagtanwala citing violation of ‘MSW 2000’ rules.
Meanwhile, MC officials maintained that the Punjab and Haryana high court had given a clearance for the construction of the proposed plant at the Bhagtanwala dump site only.
Municipal commissioner Pradeep Sabharwal said MC officials were working to furnish the required information to the NGT.