The EDMC’s proposal to set up an alternative landfill site in Ghonda Gujran in east Delhi was today rejected by an NGT-constituted panel on the grounds of the site being situated in an environmentally-sensitive zone near the Yamuna river, the mayor said. Senior officials of the East Delhi Municipal Corporation, including its Commissioner, discussed about the proposed site, spread over 150 acres, which falls in zone ‘O’.
“The NGT-constituted principal committee rejected our proposal to set up the site at Ghonda Gujran near Maujpur, saying the area near Yamuna is ecologically sensitive and ‘khadar’ (low-lying alluvial soil area located next to a river),” East Delhi Mayor Neema Bhagat told PTI. Before allotting of any site by the DDA to the civic bodies, a clearance from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) is mandatory. The principal committee has 19 members, she said.
The meeting came close on the heels of an accident in east Delhi, triggered by the collapse of a portion of the towering Ghazipur landfill, in which two people lost their lives and five others were injured. “People of Ranikhera are protesting, so EDMC experts have identified a spot near the Ghazipur landfill. Now, the waste is being diverted there. Since, it is also Eid time, so a lot of animal waste is being generated. So, it is important that those waste are disposed appropriately to prevent any health hazard,” she said.
In the wake of the accident on Friday, Lt Governor Anil Baijal had on Saturday imposed a ban on dumping of garbage at the Ghazipur landfill site, and the waste meant for it was to be diverted to a temporary site in Ranikhera near the Delhi-Haryana border. However, the decision was met with angry protests from the residents of Ranikhera, who vowed not to let the garbage being dumped there.
The mayor said the 45-m high landfill at Ghazipur was saturated in 2002 only, and the civic body has been “looking for an alternative site for long time, but a clearance from the NGT is needed”. The East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) manages the landfill site that was started in 1984 and is spread over 29 acres.
According to officials, the permissible height for a garbage dump is 20 metres. Every day, 2,500-3000 metric tonnes of garbage are dumped at the Ghazipur site. The humongous heap sits like a Leviathan, with eagles and crows circling even as the stench from the mountain of trash fills the air.
In the wake of the ban on dumping of garbage at Ghazipur, earlier, a decision was taken to divert the waste to Bhalswa landfill site (about 50-metre high), but as it is already used way beyond its saturation, a new site in Ranikhera was identified. Incidentally, the EDMC in last November had signed an MoU with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for using the solid waste from the site, in the construction of Delhi-Meerut Expressway, a section of the NH-24.
“The NHAI has assured the L-G that it will begin the process of lifting, segregating and processing of the solid waste by November 2017, for its use in road construction,” the mayor said. “We will meet the L-G to see how we can resolve the issue of finding an alternative landfill site,” Bhagat said. The other major dumping sites in the city are in Okhla and Narela-Bawana.
Meanwhile, Leader of Congress in North Delhi Municipal Corporation Mukesh Goel today hit out at the BJP-led corporation and said the “situation of Bhalswa site is explosive” and if the waste dumping is not stopped there, there would be protests.