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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Shifting of dumping ground to Jhuriwala: Panchkula residents write to NGT; a river, a wildlife sanctuary at risk

Residents of Sector 25 have often complained of the continuous stench emanating from the Sector 23 dumping ground, which has become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, insects and rodents.

Written by Pallavi Singhal | Panchkula |
Updated: July 10, 2021 1:35:25 am
panckulaThe chosen site is only 140 metres away from Khol-Hai-Raitan Wildlife Sanctuary, forest area, residential areas. (Representative Image)

IN A sustained opposition to the shifting of dumping ground site to Jhuriwala, residents from trans-Ghaggar sectors Friday wrote to the Chairman of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Monitoring Committee in Mohali, citing a “gross violation of solid waste rules and irreversible damage to environment.”

The Panchkula civic body is in the process of shifting the existing dumping ground in Sector 23 to a new site in Jhuriwala.

A joint association of several RWAs of trans-Ghaggar sectors representing over 20,000 residents, sent a detailed representation to
Justice (Retd) Pritam Pal, Chairman Monitoring Committee Mohali (Set up under orders of NGT New Delhi) to monitor pollution of underground water in Panchkula.

The residents also mailed a copy of the letter to NGT, New Delhi.

Detailing and pointing out several environmental concerns, the representation stated, “over the past decade, the MCP and HSVP have been attempting to set up a solid waste management plant at a site in Jhuriwala village, which is close to inhabited residential areas, it is next to a declared wildlife sanctuary and has a Choe passing through it. This Choe joins Nandana Choe which ultimately joins Ghaggar River. The gradient again is towards Ghaggar River. Thus, if a solid waste management plant is set up at this site, the flow of natural water to Ghaggar River shall also be affected as one of its seasonal sources shall be blocked. The Haryana State Pollution Control Board has also not been performing its duties. No inspections of the illegal and unscientific dumping ground in village Jhuriwala Panchkula have been undertaken by it.”

The chosen site is only 140 metres away from Khol-Hai-Raitan Wildlife Sanctuary, forest area, residential areas.

“It is bang on NH73 connecting Panchkula to Yamunanagar and opposite Sectors 23A and 25A, Panchkula as per the layout plan of Panchkula, which are ear-marked for commercial use,” the representation read. The site is also barely 500 meters away from Sector 25, and less than a kilometre away from the current dumping ground in Sector 23.

“Thus, Sector 25 is virtually sandwiched between the existing illegal dumping ground and the site chosen in village Jhuriwala,” said Advocate Prashant Gupta, a resident of Sector 25 who drafted the representation.

Residents of Sector 25 have often complained of the continuous stench emanating from the Sector 23 dumping ground, which has become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, insects and rodents. According to an NGT inspection in 2019, toxic leachate seeping into the ground has polluted not only the soil but also the groundwater.

The letter further alleged that work has already started at the proposed site without following the principles of sanitary land filling.

These principles broadly state waste for land filling will be compacted in thin layers using heavy compactors, and till the time facilities for composting or recycling or energy recovery are set up, the waste should be sent to the sanitary landfill.

The landfill cell should be covered at the end of each working day with minimum 10 cm of soil, inert debris or construction material.

Prior to the commencement of monsoon season, an intermediate cover of 40-65 cm thickness of soil should be placed on the landfill with proper compaction and grading.

“Even the validity of the environmental clearance granted for the solid waste management project on March 1, 2013 expired on March 1, 2020. Instead of obtaining any fresh environmental clearance, the MCP has started dumping the solid waste generated by Panchkula at the proposed site and using it as a landfill,” said Gupta.

Meanwhile, the newly shifted dump has been on fire since Monday, with local residents alleging that trans Ghaggar sectors remained clogged with smoke.

“On the dumping site at village Jhuriwala, garbage is being burnt and causing inconvenience to residents living in the vicinity. The smoke billowing out of the site was also affecting the quality of air in the Trans Ghaggar sector. It affects not just the human habitation, it is also putting lives of animals, along with the forest area around at the risk,” added the letter.

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