Amritsar has been ranked 9th dirtiest city in the country, and first in the state, among 47 cities having more than 10 lakh population, as per the Swachh Survekshan 2020. In the overall survey, it was placed at the 39th spot securing 2,459 marks out of 6,000. Behind the poor ranking is a story of lack of political willpower to bring about a change, especially of Bhagatanwala Dump. Among others, the city’s ranking has suffered due to the non-availability of solid waste management plant at the dump site. For the ruling Congress, which has one MP, five MLAs, and the mayor representing Amritsar, it is a wake up call.
October 23, 2011
Then BJP MP from Amritsar Navjot Singh Sidhu along with then Shiromani Akali Dal’s Amritsar South MLA and chief parliamentary secretary Inderbir Singh Bolaria had visited Bhagatanwala solid waste dump on the outskirts of the holy city. “If no way is found out, then I will stage a dharna at the garbage dump,” Sidhu had said demanding quick solution for the garbage dump at Bhagatanwala, which resembled the garbage mountain at Gazipur in East Delhi.
Bolaria had said that the dump had been filled to beyond its capacity and the Amritsar Municipal Corporation was unable to dump any more garbage on it.
August 10, 2015
Then Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal visited the dump and ordered that at least 10-ft high boundary wall be erected around the 15-acre site and scientific ways be adopted to process the waste.
The wall was constructed but it fell down in heavy rain.
January 29, 2019
Then Local Bodies Minister and Amritsar East Congress MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu again visited the garbage dump, along with Congress party MP Gurjeet Singh Aujla and Congress MLAs Inderbir Singh Bolaria (Amritsar South), Raj Kumar Verka (Amritsar West) and Congress Mayor Karamjit Singh Rintu. Only Amritsar North Congress MLA Sunil Dutti and Punjab minister and Amritsar Central Congress MLA O P Soni were missing on occasion.
Sidhu said that the garbage from the dump, which reached its saturation point long ago, would be removed within six months. He stressed that the work would begin in 10 days. He announced to setup a solid waste treatment plant at Bhagtanwala.
“The plant will be set up in four acres. The 500-tonne capacity plant will convert garbage into byproduct without emission. Bhagtanwala dump is spread across 25 acres and we will construct a park on remaining 20 acre. We will remove the heaps of sold waste from Bhagtanwala dump in just six months,” Sidhu had said.
August 20, 2020
Amritsar is placed ninth among the cities with more than 10 lakh population in Swachh Survekshan-2020.
The Municipal Corporation blamed the poor ranking on two factors — not many people downloading the Swachh Bharat App and lack of solid waste management plant. “We lack in processing and disposal of waste. We have been focusing on it and major hurdles have been removed. We had huge legacy waste at Bhagatanwala. We have started remediation. Three machines have been already installed and three more machines will be installed by end of August. At the same time we have been also processing fresh waste using windrow composting,” said municipal commissioner Komal Mittal.
‘Ashamed, Give me two more months’
“We are working on it. Give me two more months to come up with a detailed plan for Bhagatanwala Dump. I am worried, bothered and concerned. We are ashamed at low ranking of Amritsar,” says Inderbir Singh Bolaria, three-time MLA from Amritsar South and also political advisor to Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh.
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