Mumbai: Nearly six years ago, the Bombay High Court had held that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has been illegally dumping waste at sites situated in Deonar and Mulund.
The HC had accordingly ordered BMC to shut down the dumping sites within three months. However, the civic body has sought an extension of the deadlines and has secured over 17 such extensions till date and still continues to dump garbage at the Deonar site.
The latest such extension was given last month by a bench of Justices Satyaranjan Dharmadhikari and Riyaz Chagla, by allowing BMC to use the Deonar site beyond the deadline of Dec 31, 2019.
Notably, the HC had last extended the deadline in April 2019, clearly saying that this would be the ‘final’ extension. However, despite such an order, the civic body sought another extension claiming that it would soon start the work of setting up a ‘waste to energy’ plant at the site.
“An application seeking extension to enable the civic body to establish all facilities in accordance with the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 has been filed.
It is opposed on the ground that such extension has been sought on 16 occasions. It is claimed that the civic body is not serious in complying with the orders of this court,” Justice Dharmadhikari noted.
“According to us, there are subsequent developments,” the judge said pointing out to the fact that another site at Kanjurmarg is now free for use as a stay on it has now been vacated.
The judges also referred to the fact that the government has provided an additional land at neighbouring Thane for permanently dumping waste generated in the city.
The bench has, however, not given a deadline yet but has demanded an affidavit from the engineer, who is overseeing the work of the plant at Deonar site, specifying the time limit required for the same. The affidavit would have to be filed by January 18.
Meanwhile, Praveen Pardeshi, BMC commissioner, told FPJ that the project would require over six months. “I do not know the exact status of work but can say that we will need more than six months for setting up the waste to energy plant,” he said.
Incidentally, the tenders inviting bids for the three modules of the waste to energy plant, available on the website, specify that to complete the entire project, a total of 40 months would be required.
The deputy municipal commissioner, solid waste department (SWD) - Ashok Khaire, meanwhile said that the civic body would shut down every dumping site if the citizens start treating or recycling their waste at their homes or societies.
“If citizens make use of composting units at their homes or societies for wet waste and segregate the dry waste and recycle it, we would not require a single dumping ground in the city,” Khaire said.