Delhi Budget: ‘Will work with MCD to clear garbage mounds’, says Kailash Gahlot | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Delhi Budget: ‘Will work with MCD to clear garbage mounds’, says Kailash Gahlot

Mar 23, 2023 03:48 AM IST

The Delhi government earlier vowed that the Okhla landfill will be cleared by December this year, the Bhalswa landfill by March 2024 and the Ghazipur landfill by December 2024.

The Delhi government will level the Capital’s three garbage mountains within two years and loan the city’s civic body 850 crore to help speed up this process, state finance minister Kailash Gahlot said on Wednesday, during his Budget address.

Over the past month, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and mayor Shelly Oberoi have inspected bio-mining work at the Okhla and Bhalswa landfills. (Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
Over the past month, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and mayor Shelly Oberoi have inspected bio-mining work at the Okhla and Bhalswa landfills. (Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)

Underlining the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) commitment to clearing the waste mountains, Gahlot said that though the responsibility for this lies with the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, the state government will work in sync with the civic body to ensure the agency meets the fresh deadlines.

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The Delhi government earlier vowed that the Okhla landfill will be cleared by December this year, the Bhalswa landfill by March 2024 and the Ghazipur landfill by December 2024.

“To make Delhi a clean, beautiful and modern Delhi, I propose a loan of 850 crore to MCD in the financial year 2023-24,” the minister said, adding that the three landfills have been a “dark spot on Delhi’s image for several decades”.

In its financial estimates sent to the Centre last year, MCD said that it will require around 1,800 crore to clear the landfills.

Ridding Delhi’s skyline of the three waste mountains was a key pillar of this year’s state budget, themed “Clean, Beautiful and Modern Delhi”, as well as one of the AAP’s key promises ahead of the municipal elections, held in December.

The party won 134 of Delhi’s 250 civic wards in the polls, snapping the BJP’s 15-year hold of the municipal agency.

Over the past month, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and mayor Shelly Oberoi have inspected bio-mining work at the Okhla and Bhalswa landfills.

Gahlot on Wednesday said, “Although efforts have been underway to clear these garbage mountains for a few years, some estimates suggest that it will take 197 years to clear these garbage mountains at the current pace. This is simply unacceptable.”

However, he added that the state government was working with the civic body to shrink this window to just two years.

The Delhi government started the biomining process in 2019 to level the three landfills, which collectively hold 28 million tonne of legacy waste.

An HT analysis in August 2022 found that based on the average clearing rate and amount of fresh garbage being dumped, Delhi’s waste mountains may take up to 197 years to be cleared.

While the trommel machines have been deployed by MCD clear the legacy waste, all three landfill sites remain currently active and continue to receive fresh waste. Delhi generates 11,120 tonnes of waste everyday — out of which a large chunk was being dumped daily on landfill sites.

HT reported on February 22 that Delhi is currently able to process 61.5% of the waste it generates, leading to more than 4,360 tonne of garbage (1.59 million tonne per day) piling up on its over-saturated landfill sites. But MCD plans to achieve 100% waste processing levels by adding new waste processing facilities by 2025.

A July 2019 National Green Tribunal (NGT) order said that legacy waste dumps must be “cleared within one year but substantial progress must be made and demonstrated within six months”. Till February 14, only 7.6 million tonne, or 27%, of the total legacy waste had been processed, according to the latest government report submitted to NGT on February 16 this year.

Also read: Delhi Budget: Excise revenue far from target

Every year Delhi was dumping over 1.8 million tonnes of new garbage on the landfill sites spread over 176 acres are offsetting the progress, the analysis showed. The estimated cost of the clearing project has also escalated to 1,864 crore from 250 crore.

A municipal corporation official said that the funds availability and space for disposal of inert material are two of the major hurdles before the clearing project.

“In April last year, the central government also approved projects worth 776 crore to remediate 253 lakh MT waste in Delhi under the second phase Swachh Bharat Mission (urban). Additional funds from state government will help in increasing the number of trommel machines from existing 41 units in a short span,” the official added, asking not be named. Last week, Union minister Nitin Gadkari also announced that a part of the upcoming ring road project for Delhi (UER-2) will utilise 20 lakh tonne of waste from the Ghazipur landfill.

Despite the recent advancements for the project, meeting the revised deadlines is going to be an uphill task for MCD as the project continues to face challenges in the form of fresh waste dumping, slowed-down processing during the Monsoon, and shortage of space to dump inert derived after bio-mining.

“Clearing these garbage mountains by MCD may seem tough, but we are determined to show Delhi the result of our efforts,” Gahlot said.

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