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Saturday, Dec 07, 2019

Cash-strapped EDMC has no money to ‘green cap’ Ghazipur landfill site

The EDMC wants to follow its north and south counterparts, which are carrying out similar operations to close the Bhalswa and Okhla landfills respectively. But it does not have the money to start the project.

delhi Updated: Apr 02, 2019 10:29 IST
Baishali Adak
Baishali Adak
Hindusan Times, New Delhi
Tucks dumping garbage at Ghazipur Landfill site in New Delhi.
Tucks dumping garbage at Ghazipur Landfill site in New Delhi. (Ravi Choudhary/HT File Photo )
         

The cash-strapped East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) is seeking about Rs 94 crore under the Urban Development Fund (UDF) from the Union ministry of housing and urban affairs (MoHUA) for ‘green capping’ the south side of the Ghazipur landfill.

This is just one of the four sides of the oldest landfill in Delhi that was created in 1984. This is also the same side that collapsed in 2017 killing two people. However, short of funds to undertake the full project, the EDMC is struggling to even close this side for now.

The civic body wants to follow its north and south counterparts, which are carrying out similar operations to close the Bhalswa and Okhla landfills respectively. But it does not have the money to start the project.

After the garbage collapse incident, the EDMC was told to seal the site. But the civic body could manage no alternative site. Nearly 2000 tonnes of garbage is still dumped there every day.

After the 2017 incident, the EDMC consulted Manoj Dutta, an IIT-Delhi professor for ‘slope stabilisation’ at the site and had floated a tender seeking “engineering services” to dig in pipes to extract methane and leachate.

An official overseeing the project said that two bidders have even responded to the tender -one a Delhi-based company and the other with its headquarters in Vadodara. The bidders estimated the expenditure at ₹94 crore.

“We are trying our best to get the funds. We are not just approaching MoHUA, but also the Delhi government to give us money under the ‘plan head’ of the annual budget allocated for municipalities,” the official said on the condition of anonymity.

Till then, the first step of green capping or dry tombing of the garbage mountain -- which involves excavating its surface garbage to aerate and dry it, thereby reducing the landfill’s volume -- is being done in-house, the official said.

Thereafter, the haphazard garbage will be arranged into stable 22-degree slopes to avoid collapses and accidents. After compaction with heavy machines, it will be covered with a geo-membrane to prevent seeping in of rainwater. Then, pipes to extract gas and toxic liquid will be put in. Following this, a layer of good earth will be laid all over and grass planted on top of it, completing the process.