No commitment to shift civic landfill sites: PMC

Plans To Renew MPCB Authorization For Dumping Activity
The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has made a categorical statement before the National Green Tribunal bench here that it never made any commitment to shift the civic landfill sites at Uruli Devachi and Phursungi to an alternative location.“At no point in time did PMC say it would be going away from these sites. On the contrary , it is seeking renewal of authorisation from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) not only for the landfill activity but also for a new garbage processing plant,“ PMC’s senior lawyer P Narayan told the tribunal on Tuesday .

The bench of justice U D Salvi and expert member Ajay A Deshpande was hearing an application filed in April 2015 by Bhagwan Bhadale and others from Uruli Devachi and Phursungi, for directions to shift the landfill sites to an alternative location. The applicants have alleged that PMC was resorting to unscientific dumping and burning of garbage, and in doing so, was posing serious health and environmental hazards.

Narayan submitted that except for the existing sites and other, miscellaneous portions of land, PMC has no other land available for garbage processing, and was unable to get the proposed land at Tulapur and two other sites.

“Even after we (PMC) get those lands, we would not like to leave the present landfill sites as the same would be required for dumping of inert material using scientific methods,“ he said. In August 2014, the Uruli Devachi and Phursungi villagers had staged a 10-day protest against the dumping of garbage at these sites. The then chief minister and deputy chief minister had mediated a solution at a meeting involving the villagers, PMC authorities and others.

Narayan cited notices sent by the villagers to the PMC and submitted that the demand for shifting of the landfill sites is being linked to the various development works that were promised for Uruli Devachi and Phu rungi by the government. A December 2015 deadline was also set for the landfill sites.However, nowhere did the PMC commit that it would shift the landfill site location.

Earlier, lawyer Asim Sarode, representing the applicants, submitted that the PMC, in an affidavit, has stated on record that it would close down the garbage dump sites after completion of the capping exercise. The MPCB too, while responding to PMC’s plea for renewal of authorisation, has said that the PMC shall complete scientific closure of the municipal solid waste (MSW) sites on or before December 2015.

Sarode submitted that the MSW Rules cast a specific responsibility on the PMC to take care of the buffer zone that separates the garbage dump from the residential areas. However, till 2012, the civic body was merely dumping garbage at the landfill sites and started acting only after complaints by the villagers, he said. This showed the unscientific approach of the PMC, he added.

Source : TOI