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Chandigarh MC dumps waste in open as contractor shuts garbage plant

After terminating the contract of the private operator, the Jaypee Group after three years of wrangling over fee, earlier this month, the MC was expected to take over the possession of the plant.

punjab Updated: Jun 23, 2017 16:12 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Chandigarh MC
Chandigarh mayor Asha Jaswal pacifying protesting residents at the Dadumajra dumping site on Thursday(Sikander Singh/HT)

In a tacit admission that it is clueless on how to process garbage that the city generates a day, the Chandigarh municipal corporation has started throwing the city’s garbage — all 450 tonnes of it — at the Dadumajra dumping ground.

Thursday’s dumping comes two days after the Jaypee garbage processing plant in Dadumajra, the lone such facility in the city, was shut, with the contractor claiming a machinery breakdown.

After terminating the contract of the private operator, the Jaypee Group after three years of wrangling over fee, earlier this month, the MC was expected to take over the possession of the plant.

However, the company challenged the MC’s move before the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The next hearing is scheduled on June 23 (Friday).

The contractor had been going slow on processing waste for months.

Since March, it had been processing only 150 tonnes per day of 450-tonne capacity (this is also what the city generates a day).

In the past two weeks, the plant took in 2,248 tonne, but processed only 748 tonne — a mere 33%.

Sources also claimed that this week’s breakdown of the plant had been deliberate to harass the MC officers.

The MC’s move saw protests from residents on Thursday. Mayor Asha Kumari Jaswal, who visited the spot, faced an uncomfortable volley of questions from them.

The Dadumajra dump is already overflowing with residents even organising a ‘Protest Yoga’ with their noses covered on the International Day of Yoga on June 21 (Wednesday). The nearest sector is Sector 25.

Have no other option, Claims MC

MC joint commissioner Manoj Khatri said, “We have no option but to throw garbage in the dumping ground. Our plea of taking over possession is pending before the National Green Tribunal, as the company had challenged it. The next hearing is on June 23 (Friday).”

On Thursday, when MC medical officer health Dr Parminder Singh Bhatti and other officers went to the plant, they found only the guard from the contractor deputed at the plant.

City mayor Asha Kumari Jaswal said, “There is no other option to process garbage. We have appealed to Punjab and Haryana to shift the dumping ground.”

Residents, meanwhile, are not happy. “We want the dumping ground to be shifted as it has become a source of diseases,” said Kaushalya Devi, of Dadumajra Colony.

Another resident Gita Ram, Balmiki Colony, in-charge, said, “The mayor’s argument that a case has been filed against the private contractor, but no action taken is not satisfactory.”

How things came to such a pass

The issue of waste management first flared up in November 2013 with the MC and private contractor, the JaypeeGroup, having a disagreement over fee. The matter was allowed to hang fire before the issue blew up again in July 2016. The company suspended operations claiming that it was incurring losses. Then, the National Green Tribunal, a central body, that works for speedy disposal in environmental issues, directed thecontractor that it could not shut down the plant till orders. In August 2016, the MC terminated the contract. On April, 1, 2017, while taking a U turn, the plant authorities agreed to run the plant without the extra fee they had been demanding.

However, the plant was processing only 40-50 tonnes against the requirement of it to process 450 tonne.

On May 24, the NGT directed the contractor to accept garbageof the city as per the agreement with the MC or face action.

First Published: Jun 23, 2017 16:11 IST