The Supreme Court on Wednesday cleared the Ratnagiri Nagar Parishad's project standing afire since 2005 for starting a solid waste project at Dandeadom village, rejecting the objections raised by 19 residents of five villages around the Ratnagiri city.
Setting aside the Bombay High Court's stay on the project, the Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari dismissed the suit of the residents pending before the civil court but left all questions open by stating that the affected persons can represent to the appropriate authority that has to grant permissions under the environmental laws and they can also appeal before the National Green Tribunal or any other forum.
The Bench held that the civil court rightly refused to grant an injunction against the project and it must do so or else it would impede or delay the progress of completion of any infrastructure project, such as the present one.
The residents objected that the waste disposal project was 10 km away from the limits of Ratnagiri city at a hilly and sloppy area and it would entail serious health problems to the villagers, besides inevitably polluting the river nearby flowing from Kelye village through three other villages. Moreover, it would pollute the Sheel Dam on the river which provides water supply to Ratnagiri city.
They contended that some other site was identified for the project, but changed due to political intervention. They claimed other fallow lands are available in the Nagarpalika jurisdiction, which is more suited for the project and these are on the base of the Ratnagiri Fort. Moreover, there is no existing public road access to the site selected, and as such trucks carrying solid waste will have to be provided access through private lands.
The Nagarpalika rejected all contentions claiming that the state government allotted the land to it for setting up the project. It also denied any likelihood of pollution of the dam water or the river and asserted that the project is not to be set up on the slope as claimed and precautions will be taken that no rotten, wet or polluted waste flows from the land and contaminates the water.