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Sunday, September 19, 2021

The dump that continues to grow

Both the Jaypee group and the MC Chandigarh have failed to process all the garbage produced by the city, as a result of which the dump continues to grow.

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh |
August 2, 2021 4:28:20 am
The project to clear this waste was approved under the Smart City Mission at the 11th meeting of the board of directors of Chandigarh Smart City Limited under the chairmanship of UT Adviser Manoj Kumar Parida in 2019.

Be it elections for the Lok Sabha or the Municipal Corporation, all political parties promise a resolution to the problem called Dadumajra dump.

In the 2019 LS election, it was announced that the project of legacy mining will help clear 5 lakh metric tonnes of waste, thereby clearing the dump. During inauguration, officers said that soon children will be playing games on waste land.

Little did the happy residents know that they were being fooled. The MC had not taken into account over 4.5 lakh metric tonnes of waste after 2008 in this ‘mega project’. It was spending 35 crore to clear 5 lakh metric tonnes that was dumped before 2005.

The project to clear this waste was approved under the Smart City Mission at the 11th meeting of the board of directors of Chandigarh Smart City Limited under the chairmanship of UT Adviser Manoj Kumar Parida in 2019.

It took almost five years for the civic body to just get rid of Jaypee group for not processing the waste. Jaypee group suspended the garbage processing operations in 2016 following which the Corporation wanted to fire it . But the company took the civic body to court for not honouring its contract.

It was in 2008 that the Jaypee group set up the waste processing plant at Dadumajra. Questions over inadequate processing of waste began to be raised after BJP came to power in 2014.

Soon the dumping ground became a battleground for political parties with BJP and Congress blaming each other for the dump.

GARBAGE RISES, PROCESSING decreases

Not many are aware that even when Jaypee group, was operating the processing plant, most of the waste was not getting processed.

According to data shared by the Medical Officer of Health in response to an RTI application by a Chandigarh resident, ever since the plant was set up, only a fraction of the waste was processed.

For instance, in 2018, the Jaypee group could process only 32 per cent of the 16, 8821 metric tonnes of waste it collected in 2018.

In 2017, it processed 37 percent of the waste generated by the city, while in 2016 (June to December) it processed only 22 percent of the waste (20467 metric tonnes).

Ever since the MC has taken up the plant, processing has only declined.

Eighty percent of the waste remained unprocessed in 2020 and 2021 and the rest of it was dumped.

In 2020(excluding July), Only 13.36 percent of waste was processed in 2020 (excluding July) while this year only 16.09 percent of waste was processed until June.

These days, the city generates 550-600 metric tonnes of waste every day. At a meeting of the municipal corporation in July, the joint commissioner admitted that even if they operate the plant 14 hours a day, they would be able to process only 12 percent of the waste.

Now the MC is planning a to set up a waste-to-energy plant to process its dry waste. It has decided to allot the work of preparing a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for this plant to IIT Ropar which has agreed to undertake it at a cost of Rs 26.77 lakh.

In 2015, a presentation on a waste-to-energy plant and plastic-to-fuel plant was also given in the previous Municipal Corporation general house. However, it was not discussed further on the plea that not many waste-to-energy plants have been set up in the country.

In 2016, there was a proposal for a plastic-to-fuel plant.

Some councillors even went on a study tour in Chennai to check its functioning. The MC House also approved of the plant, which was to come up near the garbage processing plant. Councillor and then former mayor Arun Sood, who had raised the issue in the special budget meeting, said no provision was made for the project and that at present it has been put on hold.

A team of councillors had gone to Chennai to see the technical feasibility of the plant. The team went after a company who had a similar plant in Chennai, had given a presentation about the concept during a House meet.

Now, no one knows if the waste-to-energy plant will actually come up in the city or will just be a part of manifesto of the councillors ahead of Municipal Corporation elections.

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