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In Bareilly, Municipal Solid Waste Management Plant to be Shifted to New Location
The residents of Razau Paraspur in Bareily must be very relieved after the closure of the Municipal Solid Waste Management Plant (MSWMP) in the locality. The order which came on 18th July, 2013 in response to the petitions filed by different groups in three different applications to National Green Tribunal in 2013 must be a lesson for other states. The court not only ordered immediate closure and shifting of the MSWMP, in addition to that, also directed mandatory removal of all municipal waste dumped at the site within a period of 4 weeks with permanent restriction on dumping waste on the site.
The project has been under protests from local people since long. Several petitions were filed earlier in High Court since 2001 regarding the project. Apparently, petitions were filed in National Green Tribunal in 2013 vide application no. 86, 99 and 100 by Rayons-enlighting Humanity Society, Invertis University and villagers of Razau Paraspur respectively. The project was under question due to several issues as follows:
i) The NOC conditions were not followed. No compliance reports were sent to U.P. Pollution Control Board since the date of consent. NOC was granted for 5 years which lapsed in 2010 and extended in 2013 without Environmental Clearance and ignoring previous violations of NOC terms.
ii) Environmental Clearance was not taken. According to the EIA Notification, 2006, this project falls under the category B, which needed prior approval from State Level Environmental Impact Assessment Authority.
iii) The project location was not in line with Bareilly Master Plan. In the master plan, this site is recognised for social, cultural and educational services.
iv) There were several villages, water body and institutions like Invertis University in the close vicinity of the MSWMP, which is also very close to NH 24. It could also create health hazards for the neighbourhood. As there was no incinerator and consisted of mere dumping and composting only, it would create more nuisance. This would not only create problems of vector-borne diseases but leaching from the landfill sites also cause contamination of groundwaters, and other surface water sources through run offs. Ideally these sites should be located at a safe distance from all human settlement.
After hearing the appeals and responses the Honorable Tribunal said that, the BMC has failed to discharge its duties in accordance with the law. The larger public interest must prevail over the narrow end of collection and composting of municipal waste at the site in question. Court showed concern of the health of thoudands of students and residents of villages surrounding the site.
The court ordered immediate closure of the MSWMP, by a permanent prohibitory injunction, restraining BMC from dumping any municipal waste at the site. The BMC is asked to remove all the municipal waste dumped at the site within 4 weeks from the order and shift the MSWMP to any other appropriate site keeping in mind the Master Plan 2021 of Bareilly after getting consent from UPPCB and obtaining Environmental Clearance. Ministry of Environment and Forests is asked to ensure that no officer from State Board will be member of the SEIAA to ensure independent assessment of the project.
Debadityo Sinha (eRc)