DESPITE RAISING objections in the past due to its proximity to Khol-hi-Raitan Wildlife Sanctuary, the National Board of Wildlife has cleared the decks for setting up of solid waste management plant at Jhuriwala near Sector 30.
The plant would be set up on an area of 13.24 acres at Jhuriwala near Sector 30, which was acquired by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) in 2004. The decision was taken at the 37th meeting of the NBWL held recently in Delhi, under the chairmanship of Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar.
Pending for the last several years, the project had run into controversy after residents objected that the site was just 140 metres away from the Khol-hi-Rattan Wildlife Sanctuary, and less than 2 km from the nearest habitation, which includes sectors 23, 24 and 25. The proposal was then sent to the National Board of Wildlife for consideration.
The board had initially deferred the proposal in its meeting in January 2015, advising HUDA to locate the project away from the sanctuary limits and re-submit the proposal.
HUDA re-submitted the proposal in November 2015 giving technical details, but did not change the location. Following this, the proposal was deferred for the second time, and the board told HUDA, “The landfill site should be located away from the current location, as it will be a source of diseases for human beings and wildlife.”
Further information was sought from HUDA on how the negative impact of the landfill on the groundwater and ambient environment would be mitigated. In its recent meeting, the board accepted the engineering construction measures suggested by HUDA and stated that since arrangements are in place for ensuring that leachates do not pollute groundwater, the proposal is recommended.
The board, however, imposed certain conditions: the landfill of inert waste will be based on the standard design and will be covered, and adequate water harvesting structure will be created in the sanctuary for providing sustained water and fodder to the wildlife. Currently, all 90 tonnes of city waste is dumped in an open ground in Sector 23.
The decision has, however, come as a shock for the residents who had been opposing the current site. “I am disappointed and surprised that a site, which is merely 140 metres away from the boundary of a declared wildlife sanctuary, has been approved. It was rejected on two occasions earlier. When this site was not found suitable on two earlier occasions, how did it suddenly become suitable in the 37th meeting?” asked Alka Sarin, a resident of Sector 25 who has also written to the Environment Minister requesting him to put the decision on hold and reconsider the case.