The MC’s efforts to garner public support for the proposed Rs 92-crore solid waste management plant at the Bhagtanwala garbage dump site has met with stiff resistance from residents and environment lovers, who have opposed the project and demanded shifting of dump.
Residents said the MC had neither taken an NOC from the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) nor the Airport Authority of India. The dump falls within the 14-km periphery of the airport at Raja Sansi. Environment lovers said the dump is situated near the grain market in violation of the Environment and Forest Rules, 2000.
They said the government had got an environment impact assessment survey done from a company, which allegedly gave a report in favour of the companies seeking contract for the project. Even the MC’s proposal of generating jobs for at least 140 people failed to pacify residents, who said the Rs 92-crore project would have serious health implications, considering that the MC proposes to bring in at least 650 tonnes of waste from Amritsar, Jandiala, Patti, Tarn Taran, Raja Sansi, Rayya and Khem Karan everyday. The solid waste, according to MC authorities, would be used to manufacture fuel and compost.
On Friday, MC had invited residents and environment lovers for an interaction on the issue. PS Bhatti, president, Pollution Control Committee, said the committee had sent its objections to PPCB. He said the dump was situated at Bhagtanwala, which was home to a busy grain market and a more-than-a-century-old railway line, in gross violation of rules.
“As per the rules, there should be a distance of at least 1 km between the dump and the nearest human habitation, which is not so in this case. There is no space for green belt, as required under this rule. The road to the dump passes through the grain market,” said Bhatti.
He said the dump was situated over an area of 10 hectares, which was insufficient to house such a big garbage dump.
Admitting that residents had opposed the project, municipal commissioner Dharampal Gupta said the PPCB committees would look into the matter and submit their report.