Ghazipur Landfill: Green Court Raps Delhi Government, Civic Bodies

New Delhi:  The National Green Tribunal has rapped the Delhi government and the civic bodies over their “blame game” and shifting the responsibility for reduction and recycling of the municipal solid waste which led to the recent Ghazipur landfill collapse.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said that despite specific orders passed by the tribunal on various occasions, nothing specific has been done till date.

Irked at the approach of the authorities, the green panel directed the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) to immediately start the work of “segregation, compaction and bio-remediation of the municipal solid waste” with the help of the Delhi government.

“We direct deployment of JCB (mechanical excavactors) like machines and other mechanical process for the said purpose. It should be ensured that the waste, stated to be nearly 45 meters in height, must be provided with proper vents to ensure that methane gas does not get accumulated and causes further disaster.

“They shall also cover the waste with soil. There shall be deployment of proper trained staff with complete equipment around the site, day and night, to ensure that there is no danger resulting from this huge dumped waste to the public at large and the environment, any further,” the bench said.

It directed the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to open the tenders on September 21 for deciding on the agency to carry out the segregation of waste at the Ghaziapur landfill site, subject to receiving sanction from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

“Immediately thereafter they should award the work and ensure that the operation or segregation at the site would start without any further delay. Looking to the severity of the problem arising out of massive municipal solid waste, we do hope that the Ministry would act expeditiously,” it said.

The green body also directed an inspection into all the three waste-to-energy plants at Okhla, Ghazipur and Narela -Bawana and sought their performance and analysis report within three weeks.

During the hearing, advocate Kush Sharma, appearing for Delhi Development Authority (DDA), told the bench that it had given large parcel of lands to the municipal corporations for development of sanitary landfill sites and setting up of waste to energy plant.

However, some of the land is being used without approval of the DDA, he said.

The tribunal last and final opportunity of one week to all the authorities in the case to file replies to the show cause notices issued by it.

On September 4, the NGT had come down heavily on the AAP government and the EDMC over the Ghazipur landfill collapse in which two persons were killed, saying “nothing can be more humiliating than people being killed under garbage hill.

The green panel had issued notices directing them to show cause why punitive action should not be taken against the Delhi government and criminal proceedings not initiated against erring EDMC officials over the “unfortunate” incident.

It also issued notice to the NHAI to show cause why it has not started lifting segregated waste despite specific direction of the tribunal.

A portion of the 45m high garbage dump in east Delhi’s Ghazipur collapsed on September 1 because of heavy rain, killing two people and pushing a car and three two wheelers off the road and into a canal.

According to EDMC officials, which manages the landfill site that was started in 1984 and is spread over 29 acres, the site was saturated in 2002 only, and the civic body had been “looking for an alternative site for long time”.

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.

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