STUCK FOR over a period of around 10 years, the proposal for setting up a solid waste management plant in Panchkula continues to hang fire, even as tonnes of waste is thrown at the open dumping ground in Sector 23, much to the dismay of local residents.
The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) in association with the Panchkula Municipal Corporation had planned to set up a solid waste management plant in an identified site of 12.5 acres at Jhuriwala village on the National Highway-73.
Though the land was acquired by HUDA years back, it failed to receive approval from the National Board of Wildlife which rejected it due to its close proximity to the Khol-hi-Raitan Wildlife Sanctuary. The site is 500 metres from Sector 25 and 140 metres from the wildlife sanctuary.
According to the initial proposal, all the solid waste from Panchkula, Kalka and Pinjore was to be brought to the solid waste management plant in Panchkula. However, it was rejected and HUDA was asked to look for an alternative site.
As the proposal remains stuck, local residents of nearby sectors are aggrieved because of the foul smell generated due to close location of the dumping ground in Sector 23.
“It is difficult to even pass by the area because of this stench. It becomes unbearable during monsoon. They are not even following the instructions laid down by the National Green Tribunal,” says S S Gill, a resident of Sector 25.
Elaborating on the issue, Hemant Sarin, a resident of Sector 25 and an advocate, says, “HUDA can select any other site far from the residential area and the wildlife sanctuary. But it continues to press for the current site. Apart from concerns related to wildlife, HUDA has not even explained the project details about the waste treatment.”
HUDA recently submitted a fresh proposal to set up the plant at a site 500 metres from the wildlife sanctuary, which is yet to come for consideration. Once okayed by the State Wildlife Board, the proposal will go to the National Board of Wildlife for final approval.
Mayor Upinder Ahluwalia says that the corporation is mulling over buying garbage incinerators, which could be used to treat the waste at smaller levels. “We are considering the option at an experimental level, as the solid waste management plant is yet to be set up. These incinerators can be placed in one of the sectors, which might help in waste treatment,” she adds.