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THE DELHI High Court Wednesday issued a stay on an initiative of the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) to demolish garbage dhalaos (collection points) in its jurisdiction as part of the “smart city” plan.
The bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul issued the interim stay after noting that the NDMC had not created any “concrete plan” for municipal waste disposal and rehabilitation of the ragpickers who are set to lose their livelihoods.
While the detailed order is expected to be released by Friday, the bench observed that the lawyers and officials of the NDMC present in court had not been able to answer its query regarding the system for collection and disposal of garbage from the area.
The All India Kabadi Mazdoor Mahasangh (AIKMM) had filed a petition in court, through advocate Shakti Vardhan and Amiy Shukla, claiming that the bins were being demolished without any alternate waste disposal plans, which would lead to health problems and displacement of livelihood of ragpickers.
The plea alleged that the NDMC had demolished a dhalao near Chelmsford Club in January, proposing to build a toilet block in its place. A second dhalao at Rafi Marg was demolished on August 10, and another on August 12, “without any notice to the ragpickers”.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan also told the court that the demolitions were being done under the NDMC’s “Atm Nirbhar” scheme in order to build toilet complexes on the same sites. The ragpickers will be provided jobs in maintaining the toilets.
But the petition states, “This so called scheme was never formulated…, contrary to the Solid Waste Management Rules 2016 by the Ministry of Environment, which clearly prefers and promotes “decentralised processing” which means establishment of dispersed facilities for maximising the processing of biodegradable waste and recovery of recyclables closest to the source of generation so as to minimise transportation of waste for processing or disposal.”
The petition has sought orders to the NDMC to “propose a roadmap/plan/scheme in accordance with the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016” and restrain the civic agency from demolishing the garbage houses in the NDMC area “till any such scheme is formulated legally”. The court has asked the NDMC to file an affidavit after its counsel Anil Grover said the solid waste management rules were followed while formulating the policy. It will now take up the matter on September 27.