THE STATE government Tuesday told the Bombay High Court there could be “serious implications” if new construction is banned in the city to curb illegal dumping of solid waste.
Stating that “concrete steps” had been taken to curb dumping, the government said it was not necessary to impose restrictions on further development in Mumbai. “Stoppage of construction is a policy decision that needs to be considered from several different points, and may turn out to be a solution more problematic than the problem it seeks to address,” stated the state government’s affidavit.
In March, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had filed an application before the HC, seeking exemption from immediate of Mulund and Deonar dumping ground. The court has allowed these two sites to function till the end of February.
On Tuesday, arguing against the ban on construction, the state’s affidavit stated that it would immediately impact property prices, rates of housing finance would be artificially manipulated and slum rehabilitation schemes — which release a lot of land and go a long way in the city’s planned development — would also come to a standstill. Besides, it would adversely effect employment and trade and commerce related to construction.
The state said that it had already taken certain steps to address the issue of illegal dumping of waste, and even issued a circular to the BMC on Monday, which asks the civic body to “impose the condition of segregating waste and process bio-degradable waste within the plot area in a scientific manner by the occupier of the premises while granting permission of development,”. The circular adds that some area should be reserved for a recreation ground while permitting construction on an area of more than 2000 sqm, and processing of waste should be allowed in such a ground. The state also pointed out that it had handed over more land for setting up processing sites at Kanjurmarg, Airoli and Taloja.
The court had earlier asked the state government and the BMC to inform them about the category of construction which is in progress in the city. In in its reply, the government has said that an analysis of the development proposals reveals that most of the proposals being received are for redevelopment and not for fresh development. The HC had also asked for an impact assessment study to be carried out on generation of solid waste management. “Till such study is not made some ban should be there,” the court had said.
Asking the BMC on how much more land was required to meet future needs for waste processing, the BMC said 50 hectares would be required even after Kanjurmarg, Taloja and Airoli are operational, to process around 14,000 MT of waste per day.
“We have been given an additional 52 hectares in Kanjurmarg. Once we get clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change, it will take six months to start the plant. Thereafter, we can close down Mulund. It will take another three years to start a waste-to-energy plant in Deonar,” said S U Kamdar, the senior counsel appearing for BMC.
He also asked for police assistance to deal with miscreants around the Deonar dumping ground.