Waste cleaning yet to pick up pace at Bhagtanwala


Charanjit Singh Teja

Amritsar, December 22

Though the National Green Tribunal (NGT) asked the Municipal Corporation (MC) to conduct the processing of garbage at the Bhagtanwala dump, the bioremediation process by which contamination is cleaned is going on only at a snail’s pace. The MC had hired a solid waste management company, Averda, for bioremediation and the firm had assured that it would process the garbage at the ground within six months.

The bioremediation of garbage started with tall claims in September 2020. Five tumbler machines and a ballistic separator were functional till January 2021. A good proportion of garbage had been processed and the firm got a good quantity of refuse derived fuel (RDF).

In March 2021, the Bhagtanwala dump witnessed a major fire and the machines were damaged. The firm stopped the processing. It was started later but nothing was achieved in the next few months. Due to lack of maintenance and poor performance, the condition of machines deteriorated. The outbreak of Covid-19 also affected the work.

In August 2021, the monitoring committee of the NGT asked the Municipal Corporation to complete the task. Following the strictness of NGT, the solid waste management company assured to complete the bioremediation process by September 2023.

According to sources at the dump, bioremediation is not being conducted properly and the company has not been able to achieve its target.

“If the company keeps all the machines functional in two shifts for the next eight months, then the garbage heaps can be processed. But the company didn’t make any such effort. So there is no chance that the target would be achieved till September 2023,” said an employee at the dump.

Meanwhile, the MC has imposed penalty to the tune of lakhs on the firm for not achieving the target promised in the contract.

Amit Vajpayee, the Averda executive, did not respond to phone calls. Meanwhile, residents of nearby localities and office-bearers of the Sanjhi Sangharsh Committee alleged that the company set garbage on fire to save money and efforts involved in processing the garbage. The residents also complain of regular fire outbreaks at the dumping ground. Municipal Health Officer Dr Yogesh Arora recently visited the Bhagtanwala dump and instructed the company to speed up the pace of bioremediation and make arrangements to control the fires timely.