The National Green Tribunal (NGT) came down heavily on the Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation (MBMC), warning that if work to “scientifically treat” its daily 500 metric tonnes of solid waste does not begin within a month, then the corporation will be “restricted” from issuing occupation and commencement certificate for any building project.
Watch What Else is Making News
In an order issued by the western zone bench in Pune on February 3, the court directed MBMC to issue work orders for a solid waste treatment plant. Besides, the court noted that as MBMC earns Rs 450 crore annually it should deposit Rs 20 crore in the escrow account of the Konkan divisional commissioner next week.
“MBCB shall deposit Rs 20 crore in the escrow account of (Konkan) divisional commissioner within next two weeks to ensure the proposed plant is commissioned and operated in the next eight months as stated by the (municipal) commissioner,” says the order.
Since its solid waste management plant at Dhagvi village in Utan, Bhayander (west), was shut down in September 2009, the municipality has been dumping and burning unprocessed garbage in the open. The 8.2 lakh population of the corporation generates about 500 tonnes of solid waste every day and is presently dumped at an Utan site.
Last year, a group called Nagri Hakk Sangharsh Samiti (NHSS), of the affected villagers, had approached the NGT complaining mainly of health hazards. The corporation had told the court last year that it has plans to install incineration units and compost plants costing Rs 150 crore.
According to the order, the court observed that “the corporation has failed to take any concrete measures to set up a new facility as contemplated by it at Sakwar village…the corporation is continuing with unscientific dumping of solid waste at the Utan site, where regular instances of fire are being reported”.
The corporation has cited non-viability of the proposed project, no private party coming forward to bid for the proposed facility as some of the reasons for not starting work. “We further direct that in case the corporation fails to issue work order for the same period within one month, the corporation is hereby restrained to issue any occupation certificate or commencement certificate for any residential and commercial building projects within the municipal limits,” the order said.
The municipality has been unable to find any alternate location to recycle its waste. A recycling plant at Versova on the Ghodbunder Road in Thane was rejected by the central government due to its proximity to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
The western zone bench had last year directed MBMC to deposit Rs 70 crore but the latter claimed “its financial position is precarious and it will not be possible for it to spare Rs 70 crore”.
However, considering the change in technology from incineration to composting as proposed in a report prepared by IIT, the corporation said it would cost Rs 17 crore to deal with 350 tonnes of solid waste. Hence, the court reduced the deposit from Rs 70 crore to Rs 20 crore.