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Responding to a public interest litigation (PIL) raising issues of mismanagement of solid waste and demand for shifting of Pirana dump site located on the outskirts of the city, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has told the Gujarat High Court that people were illegally living under 500 meters of the landfill and therefore, they cannot claim any protection or relief.
The AMC also told the HC in its reply that that mobile ambulance service had been started to resolve issues of health arising due to proximity to the dump yard. “In response to prayer of the applicant, the respondent corporation has started sending a mobile medical van to this locality on a regular basis, which has the facility to examine the patients by a qualified doctor and this medical team is giving required medicines free of cost to the patients,” the AMC said in its reply.
The corporation also said in it reply that it had inquired with the Cattle Nuisance Control Department “about the dog sterilizing method and it is confirmed by them that they never release stray dog in the area”. The PIL which was filed last year claimed that people living in the vicinity had been paying taxes and electricity bills. Among the residents are victims of the Naroda Patiya and Gulberg Society massacres of 2002 who live in a colony called “Citizen Nagar”. The AMC reply filed in the court on Wednesday stated that the dump yard was as old as 1980, while the dwelling units were “constructed or occupied in recent years”.
The reply cited the an inquiry undertaken by the Estate Department of the civic body, which found that there were a total of 26,468 units of constructions, including industrial (1,125), commercial (4,215) and residential (42,083). “Upon inquiry prima facie it founds (sic) by the Estate Department of Corporation that the above referred human habited within 500 of the site are illegal and without there being any proper construction whatsoever.” It stated that “In view of the preliminary inquiry/survey it is reveal (sic) that all the above referred occupants are without there being any proper permission.”
The reply mentioned that the Estate Department was scrutinizing the data and appropriate procedure will be initiated and therefore, such occupants cannot claim any relief from the court. On Thursday, some residents of Citizen Nagar went to the AMC headquarter in Danapith area, and made a representation to shift the dump yard out of Pirana.
According to the reply, Ahmedabad city produces “around 4,000 metric tonne of solid waste (including 500 to 700 tonne of construction and demolition waste) per day,” out of which only 1500 tonne of waste is being processed at a treatment plant located at Gyaspur. The reply claimed that the corporation has awarded processing work to two companies which would together treat 2000 tons of solid waste into electricity for which land has been allotted to Gyaspur.
The PIL, on the other hand, alleged that the Pirana landfill site was not designed as per the existing Solid Waste Management rules, 2016, and not an engineered landfill. The dump yard has been a source of pollution for people living around the site. No health surveys have been undertaken yet, but the PIL alleged people in locality were suffering from lung diseases and suffered premature death due to poor health conditions.