June 6, 2018 1:17:47 am
An order by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), issued seven days ago on the issue of solid waste management and a proposed waste-to-energy (WTE) plant at Sector 123, seems to be at the centre of tension between residents and authorities. Following a three-day protest, the agitation turned violent with the arrest of 80 residents, officials said.
“Forty-seven persons were arrested Monday and 33 on Tuesday, booked under IPC sections relating to rioting and violating prohibitory orders. The FIR was registered on the basis of a complaint from Noida Authority officials against around 300 people,” said Amit Kumar Singh, SHO, Noida Phase 2 police station.
On Monday, protesters had pelted stones at the police team when they were asked to leave. Police retaliated with water cannons and lathicharge. Despite this, hundreds gathered Tuesday near the site of the proposed WTE plant to conduct a mahapanchayat. Joined by Samajwadi Party leaders, including Rajya Sabha MP Surendra Nagar, residents met City Magistrate Mahendra Singh and senior police officers.
Among the protesters was Rahul Yadav, whose elder brother was among those arrested. “We will ask the district administration to shift the project to another area and release those arrested on bail,” he said. Amid heavy security, as two bulldozers excavated portions of the 25-hectare land, where the WTE is expected, protesters sat along the road. “We will go to prison but not let authorities take our health for granted,” said Dharampal, a protester.
Rakesh Kumar Mishra, ACEO, Noida Authority said, “People have been misinformed… We are just following court directives.”
On May 29, an NGT bench had issued an order on a petition filed by residents of Noida sectors 22, 33, 53, 55 and 56. The case related to the dumping of waste in Sector 54. In its order, the NGT said it had held discussion on the “fact that Sector 123 was a designated site for municipal solid waste management as per the master plan”. Its order read that Noida Authority shall “stop using land at Sector 54 either for dumping or segregation of municipal solid waste… It shall handle the municipal solid waste in Sector 123… the waste to energy plant shall be commissioned at the earliest possible, but not later than six months”.
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