MCG, Ecogreen pulled up over poor management of Bandhwari landfill
The court said that emergency measures need to be taken “at the highest level of the state” to remedy the situation, and instructed the chief secretary to the government of Haryana to intervene and take “prompt steps” in the matter.Updated: Apr 26, 2019 14:16 IST
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) came down heavily on the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) and Ecogreen Energy, its concessionaire for waste management in the city, earlier this week, for the “sorry state of affairs” at the Bandhwari landfill site.
The court said that emergency measures need to be taken “at the highest level of the state” to remedy the situation, and instructed the chief secretary to the government of Haryana to intervene and take “prompt steps” in the matter.
The chief secretary has been instructed to submit an action taken report on the nature of these steps by May 27, the next date of hearing. Another instruction to the chief secretary recommended: “punitive action be taken against the officers failing to handle the situation.”
“The Chief Secretary of the State will be at liberty to take disciplinary action as well as prosecution of all concerned,” states the NGT order (a copy of which is in possession of Hindustan Times) passed on Tuesday. The court has also granted the chief secretary with the liberty of halting salary payment of officials who have failed to act on the ground, or replacing them with more competent officers. These steps, the NGT reflected, have become necessary to protect public health, which is under serious threat on account of the failure of the administration.
A three-judge bench was hearing a matter filed by activist Vivek Kamboj last year, in which it was alleged that the MCG and Ecogreen Energy are dumping unsanitary, mixed waste at the site in violation of various legal mandates. The present situation is a “classic instance of incapacity, incompetence and unwillingness of the Municipal Corporation, Gurgaon, to perform its duty to handle solid waste in a scientific manner,” said the bench, headed by chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel. The NGT also recommended terminating Ecogreen Energy’s contract for its failure to perform its duties and replacing it with a new concessionaire.
The NGT had last month considered an inspection report by the Central Pollution Control Board(CPCB), in which it was said that no adequate steps were in place to prevent pollution and comply with the requisite norms, including the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, and the Sanitary Landfill Guidelines.
The proposed waste-to-energy plant (which is to be made ready by August 2019) has not yet received an environmental clearance from the ministry of environment, and about 25 lakh tonnes of legacy waste (untreated waste that has been lying at the site for several years) continue to languish at the site, polluting the surface and groundwater bodies.
The NGT’s order also viewed seriously the problem of leachate run-off from the landfill that persists despite the presence of a leachate treatment plant (LTP). Inaugurated in August 2018 after being constructed at a cost of ₹3.5 crore, the plant has an operational at a capacity of 150 kilolitres(KL) per day, confirmed a member of Ecogreen Energy’s managerial staff, who requested anonymity. “However, the LTP is not sufficient to collect and treat of all the leachate that is collected on site,” he said.
Gaurav Joshi, CEO, Ecogreen Energy, did not respond to multiple calls and requests seeking comment.
Yashpal Yadav, commissioner, MCG, said, “We have ensured most of the compliances but the main issue is the treatment of legacy waste. Ecogreen has started one ballistic separator to treat it. RFP has also been floated to hire technology and partner to treat it. The whole issue would be examined by the chief secretary and decision would be taken only under his guidance.
First Published: Apr 26, 2019 00:43 IST