Chandigarh MC proposes new project to clear Dadumajra landfill

The Chandigarh MC decides to clear 7.5 lakh MT legacy waste, which is not covered under the ongoing smart city project, to completely remove solid waste from the Dadumajra landfill
The MC’s failure to clear legacy waste dragged Chandigarh down in Swachh rankings and was a key issue in municipal polls. (HT File Photo)
The MC’s failure to clear legacy waste dragged Chandigarh down in Swachh rankings and was a key issue in municipal polls. (HT File Photo)
Published on Jan 13, 2022 12:32 AM IST
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By, Chandigarh

The municipal corporation has decided to clean up more than 7.5 lakh metric ton (MT) legacy waste, which is not covered under the ongoing legacy mining work, to completely remove solid waste from the Dadumajra dumping site in Chandigarh.

The project will cost 78 crore and will take at least three years to complete once it kicks off. The Union government will chip in, but whether it would be fully or partially funded by the Centre is yet to be finalised.

At present, under a Chandigarh Smart City Limited (CSCL) project, nearly 5 lakh MT of legacy waste (pre-2005) is being removed from the site, which is less than half of the total legacy waste at the site. Now, under the new proposal, the rest of the legacy waste will be removed and the entire ground at the Dadumajra will be cleared.

The failure to clear this legacy waste had dragged Chandigarh down to 66th position in the latest Swachh Survekshan, and was also a key issue that resonated among all parties and voters during the recently conducted municipal elections.

In fact, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which had a majority in the previous MC House, lost all five wards around the dumping site. Its failure to resolve the issue during its five-year stint is being seen as the major reason for this poor showing.

Immediately after taking over as the new mayor, BJP’s Sarabjit Kaur said that cleaning up the Dadumajra dumping site was one of her top priorities. Even UT adviser Dharam Pal has maintained that removal of legacy waste is one of his priorities.

The dumping ground has led to not only environmental issues, but has also caused widespread health problems in the areas in its proximity. Also, about 40 lakh litres of water had to be dumped at the site to douse multiple fires at the dumping ground in the past six years.

Who’ll foot the bill

For starting the fresh legacy mining work, the MC is seeking financial support from the Union government. It has submitted a proposal for around 78 crore under the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM)-2.

“Under the SBM-2, for solid waste management, Chandigarh is to get around 28 crore from the Centre. We have sought additional 42 crore under the mission,” said a senior MC official, who did not wish to be named.

On the timeline for the project, the MC official, said: “The project is likely to be started in another six months. It will take at least three years for the project to be completed. The project will also include cleaning up 500 tonne waste dumped at the dysfunctional solid waste processing plant near the landfill.”

However, MC officials maintained that full funding might not be forthcoming from the Centre, yet even partial funding, expected to be over 40 crore, will help in taking up the project.

Delayed clean-up

The ongoing 33-crore legacy mining project was launched with much fanfare in December 2019 by the then UT administrator VP Singh Badnore in the presence of MP Kirron Kher. Around 5 lakh MT garbage (pre-2005), which had been lying at the landfill for more than 20 years, was to be biomined and the entire land of about 25 acres was to be reclaimed by May 2021.

As only around 2.7 lakh MT (55%) has been removed yet, the deadline has been extended to August 2023, though officials say it is likely to be achieved by December 2022. A number of reasons have been put forward by MC officials for the slow pace of work, but largely the pandemic has been blamed for the missed deadlines. The other major reason cited was monsoon showers.

This project doesn’t cover another 7.5 lakh MT waste that was dumped at the site after 2005. The daily generation of solid waste in the city is around 550-600 MT, but with less than 20-40 MT being processed every day at the solid waste processing plant, most is being dumped at the site unprocessed.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2022