Gurugram: 26 detained for protesting against WTE plant in Bandhwari landfill - Hindustan Times

Gurugram: 26 detained for protesting against WTE plant in Bandhwari landfill

Dec 11, 2021 07:34 PM IST

Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar lays foundation stone for waste to energy plant and new municipal corporation office near Vyapar Sadan

Police detained 26 people from Gurugram Sector 14 on Friday afternoon for protesting against the foundation stone laying ceremony of the waste to energy (WTE) plant in Bandhwari landfill.

A group of people protesting against the waste to energy plant in Bandhwari landfill in Gurugram’s Sector 14. (HT Photo)
A group of people protesting against the waste to energy plant in Bandhwari landfill in Gurugram’s Sector 14. (HT Photo)

They were detained nearly one hour before Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar was scheduled to lay the foundation stone for the Bandhwari WTE and the new Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) office opposite to Vyapar Sadan at 3pm on Friday.

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People mostly affiliated with the Aravalli Bachao citizens group, and other Gurugram residents gathered at Sector 14 near Vyapar Sadan around 1.30pm and observed a silent protest by holding posters and banners against the WTE project.

Deepak Kumar, 22, who is a resident of Sector 44, allegedly suffered minor injuries after he was “manhandled by police” during the incident. “Around 2pm, a few police officers in a PCR vehicle approached the protesters and asked us to vacate the area. We agreed to this after a brief discussion and were about to leave the site, but... all of a sudden, a team of police officers, including female constables, started detaining the protesters. They dragged us inside a police bus. During a scuffle following this, a few police officers punched me on my face and kicked me on my stomach,” said Deepak.

Jyoti Raghavan, a protester, said, “The placement of a WTE plant in the forest land amid a critical water recharging zone for the National Capital Region (NCR) defies all logic. WTE plants have failed across the country, and most of these projects have already closed down. WTE plants only add to the ongoing pollution crisis instead of providing a solution... We were silently protesting against the project but were detained without any reason.”

According to the protesters, they were kept at the women’s police station in Palam Vihar under preventive custody for almost three hours, and were released around 5.30pm — only after CM Khattar’s programme was over.

Subhash Boken, spokesperson, Gurugram police, said that 26 protesters were taken to the local police station. “They (the protesters) were taken into preventive custody to maintain law and order situation in the city,” Boken said.

Earlier in the day, another group of nearly 30 residents and environmentalists from Gurugram and Faridabad also organised a protest against the WTE project outside the Bandhwari landfill between 11am and 12.30pm. “Our protest was carried out peacefully, in the presence of police personnel. There were no disruptions... It was not affiliated to any political party... We simply raised slogans against the WTE project, demanding the Haryana government to reconsider its move considering the environmental implications arising from it,” said Vaishali Rana, a Gurugram-based environmentalist and a protester.

CM Khattar calls it ‘waste to wealth’ approach

Meanwhile, Khattar said during his Friday address that “it was an important day for Gurugram and Faridabad”.

“The WTE plant is being set up for proper disposal of waste from both the cities — Gurugram and Faridabad. Cleanliness is the ornament of life, and is also necessary for the ease of living. We are moving towards a ‘waste to wealth’ approach with this new technology. Haryana’s first plant WTE project, to generate electricity from waste, has already started in Sonipat, and this new WTE plant in Gurugram will generate around 600,000 units of electricity per day and ensure that the waste in the area is being disposed of properly,” said Khattar. He also talked about further increasing the capacity of the WTE plant.

Pataudi Chowk: 3 AAP office bearers detained

On Friday, three Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) office bearers were also allegedly detained at the Pataudi Chowk police post for more than four hours, according to a release issued by the party.

Dr Sarika Verma, one of three detained office bearers, said that “AAP had not planned any protest against the WTE project or came up with any message on disrupting the CM’s programmes on Friday”, but the trio was detained anyway.

However, assistant sub-inspector Dhuli Chand, in-charge of Pataudi Chowk police post, said, “We received a tip that the AAP office bearers concerned would swirl black flags at the Bandhwari landfill, and try to disrupt the Haryana CM’s programmes on Friday. So, we called the three AAP office bearers to the police post for holding a discussion on the matter. There was no detainment as such.”

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    Kartik Kumar is a correspondent with the Hindustan Times and has covered beats such as crime, transport, health and consumer courts. Kartik currently covers municipal corporation, Delhi Metro and Rapid Metro.

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