Villagers cry foul over waste dumping on Aravalli land in Pali
Residents of Pali village in Faridabad alleged that civic agencies of Faridabad and Gurugram are illegally dumping municipal solid waste on Aravalli land, in violation of court orders, near their village on Wednesday. A complaint in this regard was filed with the police on Wednesday and the residents are likely to hold a mahapanchyat on the issue on Friday.
Officials of the municipal corporations of Faridabad and Gurugram said that no further waste would be dumped and that they are working towards finding a space for remediation of waste accumulated at the Bandhwari landfill.
Yashpal Yadav, the commissioner of the Municipal Corporation of Faridabad (MCF) said, “The Municipal Corporation of Gurugram sought support from us for finding an alternative land where refused derived fuel waste could be stored as they were finding it difficult to treat legacy waste at Bandhwari landfill due to lack of space. So, we provided this land near Pali crusher zone, where the waste was dumped.”
“It was brought to my notice today (Thursday) that a case regarding this land, which was dismissed earlier, has been restored and after learning about the development, we have communicated to the corporation that this land has status quo. So, no further waste should be stored there and it should be stopped,” Yadav said.
Dhiraj Kumar, the joint commissioner for Swachh Bharat Mission, Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG), said, “It is known that we need new land for remediation of waste already accumulated at Bandhwari and we are working in collaboration with MCF, but I would not be able to comment on it more as the matter is sub judice.”
A complaint to the Pali police station on Wednesday states that in 1992, the MCF took over patti shamlat land (land which is for the common use of villagers with their ownership rights) from the villagers without compensating them. The villagers earlier moved the high court, which, in 2018, stated that either the land be returned to the villagers or that they must be compensated for the same.
On January 6, 2020, the case was dismissed by the high court due to default, but a petition was filed in the matter after it was dismissed. Hearing the petition on January 21, 2020, the court noted, “For the reasons recorded in the application, which is accompanied by an affidavit of the counsel for the petitioner, the same is allowed. Order dated 06.01.2020 is recalled and the writ petition aforesaid is ordered to be restored to its original number. Let the main petition be listed as per roster.”
Jitendra Bhadana, a Pali resident who filed the police complaint, said, “On Wednesday, officials from the corporation secretly dumped around 10-15 truckloads of household waste on Aravalli land near crusher zone in Pali village. They said that refuse-derived fuel waste is being dumped, but we saw that plastic and household waste was dumped. This has to be stopped. Else, it will soon become a dumping site like Bandhwari,”
Pali residents will hold a mahapanchayat on Friday to discuss the land issue, which they say is their common land and that the matter is sub judice in the Punjab and Haryana high court.
“Officials also cut trees there to make way for trucks carrying waste. Although waste is not being dumped after we raised the issue, it is a contempt of orders as the court already said that this land must either be given back to the villagers by the MCF or that villagers must be given compensation,” said Bhadana.
The police, meanwhile, said that no action was taken against those who dumped the waste. Om Prakash, sub-inspector, in-charge of Pali police chowki where the complaint was filed, said, “Those dumping waste at the said land had permission from the MCF. So, no action was taken against them. We have further not received any communication from the corporation to stop dumping of waste.”
The National Green Tribunal (NGT), while hearing a case on clearing of legacy waste from Bandhwari landfill site, on March 9 said that it was giving a last opportunity to authorities for ensuring meaningful action on the ground.
Calling the treatment of legacy waste “insignificant”, the court also said that only 2% of the 3.3 million tonnes of legacy waste was remediated at the Bandhwari landfill site in over one year, indicating “that seriousness of the concerned authorities is lacking.”
The Bandhwari landfill receives around 2,000 tonnes of waste every day from both Gurugram and Faridabad. Municipal solid waste from both these cities is being dumped at the landfill since 2015. As per a report by the Central Pollution Control Board submitted to the NGT in September 2020, the height of the dumpsite increased to 36 metres from 27 metres (as recorded by CPCB in February 2020) and the total waste dumped stood at 3.1 million tonnes, approximately.