The National Green Tribunal (NGT) in Delhi on Friday gave relief to the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation by directing the Jaypee group to resume the operations of the garbage processing plant at Dadumajra from Monday morning.
Earlier, the MC General House had resolved to terminate the contract with Jaypee. But the termination process is complicated. As the MC and the company are already locked in a battle at the NGT, the MC is seeking legal opinion on the termination.
The NGT orders, meanwhile, came from the principal bench of Justice S P Wangadi and expert member P S Rao after the corporation on Friday placed before it video and photographic evidence on the suffering of residents after Jaypee abruptly shut down the processing plant, citing maintenance issues.
As a result, 450 tonnes of garbage is being dumped in the open dumping ground near the plant, causing problems to the local residents.
“The tribunal has issued orders to the company to complete the repairs by Sunday evening and begin processing the complete garbage received from Monday morning,” a senior official of the MC said.
Saurabh Bhalla, counsel for Chandigarh MC, submitted that Jaypee failed to treat the municipal solid waste during the last three days. As a result, an epidemic-like situation had arisen in the locality.
However, R S Suri, senior counsel for Jaypee, submitted that the plant had been closed for repairs of the damage caused to the plant while processing wet municipal solid waste and would be ready for operations in another two to three days.
The NGT ruled, “Considering the grave public interest involved in the matter, we direct the project proponent to ensure that the plant starts functioning in its full capacity within three days from today and not later than that directing further all municipal solid waste deposited at the plant shall be processed.”
As per an agreement with the Jaypee group and orders of the NGT during previous hearings, Jaypee has to continue to process the garbage. However, the civic body found that the company was processing only 10 per cent of it and dumping the rest of it at the dumping ground.
Colonel (Retd) K J S Sandhu, plant in-charge from Jaypee, said that they would follow the orders of the court. On the allegations of the MC that Jaypee was “making an excuse of repairs” and didn’t want to carry out the processing work, Sandhu told Chandigarh Newsline, “I would not comment on what MC thinks but we are spending an amount of Rs 20 lakh on our machinery as it required immediate repairs. We are carrying out the work on a war footing and it is likely to be completed by Sunday evening.”
Mayor Asha Jaswal said that they were satisfied with the NGT order, though the MC was in talks with a Lalru-based company to explore the possibility of transporting Chandigarh’s garbage there for processing, if required.
“The talks haven’t materialised yet but in public interest we are even ready to pay the company tipping fee if they take our garbage for processing,” she said.
Residents too are happy with the NGT decision. “It has come as a relief to us. At least till the time there is no alternative, the MC should get the tribunal orders enforced and see that Jaypee processes the entire garbage,” said Narinder, a local resident of Dadumajra.
The problem began when BJP councillor Rajesh Kalia and some residents stopped garbage trucks from tipping their load on the open dumping ground, and asked Jaypee to process it, as it had to, on the orders of the tribunal. The next day, Jaypee officials sent a message to the MC saying that they were closing the plant for urgent maintenance. However, MC said that it was an excuse by Jaypee for not processing the garbage.