Two years ago, the Chandigarh administration gave residents the impression that the entire mountain dump at Dadumajra would be cleared at a cost of Rs 34 crore. Residents grew hopeful that their City Beautiful would be freed of the decades’ old problem. But the reality on ground is different.
The project to clear the waste was approved under the Smart City Mission at the 11th meeting of the board of directors of Chandigarh Smart City Limited that was held here under the chairmanship of UT Adviser Manoj Kumar Parida in 2019. It was then said that the mountain of trash at the dumping ground will be cleared at cost of Rs 34 crore.
Little does everyone know that the five lakh metric tonnes waste on ground which is being cleared for this whopping amount is actually only half of the total waste that has accumulated. Another 4.5 lakh metric tonnes piled up since 2005 was not in the tender issued. Hence, clearing this 16-year-old pile will mean further expenditure of a similar amount, and more waste is being dumped here on a daily basis.
Municipal Corporation Commissioner K K Yadav, who is also CEO of Chandigarh Smart City Limited, admits that 4.5 lakh metric tonnes is another pile up.
“This volume of 4.5 lakh metric tonnes has gathered since 2005. As the plant was not functioning to its optimum capacity, they kept dumping it at the dumping ground,” said Yadav.
So which waste is being cleared now?
Yadav said that the 5 lakh metric tonnes that is being cleared was dumped prior to 2005. This means that waste piled up in the last 16 years was not included in the tender issued for Rs 34 crore and further clearing will consume more money and time.
A senior official said that the waste accumulated post 2005 takes up 20 acres. “We are clearing 25 acres in Rs 34 crore. Otherwise the dump is on 45 acres.”
Congress councillor and Leader of Opposition Devinder Singh Babla said, “They gave an impression that the entire waste is being cleared in Rs Rs 34 crore. It means they will spend around Rs 30 crore more on clearing the next volume. Till the time next volume is cleared, further more will pile up. It will become a Rs 100 crore project as they will keep dumping waste and the firm will keep clearing for crores.”
How much has been cleared till now
The Board of Directors of Smart City Limited had assigned the project to a Nagpur-based company called M/s SMS Limited. This work was supposed to be completed in 18 months as the waste dump is being cleared in a “scientific and hygienic manner”. It was claimed that this will bring huge relief for residents in the vicinity, who have been facing medical issues due to the foul smell and leachate oozing from the dump. Chandigarh generates around 425 to 450 metric tonnes of waste daily.
Of the 5 lakh metric tonnes, the company is said to have processed around 75,000 metric tonnes of waste only. The work was to be completed in 18 months’ time.
How mining of legacy waste is being done
There are different sizes of trommels which will segregate waste. From that — the C and D waste will go to the civic body’s C and D plant, plastic and others will be converted into RDF, biodegradable waste will be converted into compost etc.
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