KOLKATA, 13 JUNE: For the past four years, the Bidhannagar Municipality has been dumping waste in Mollar Bheri that falls within the boundary of the East Kolkata Wetland without permission from the East Kolkata Wetland Management Authority (EKWMA).
Salt Lake’s waste was being dumped in Mollar bheri since the 1960s. After the East Kolkata Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Act came into force in March 2006, the CPI-M led Bidhannagar Municipality chairman, Mr Biswajiban Majumder, met the officials of the newly formed EKWMA and sought permission for dumping of waste at Mollar Bheri on 27 November, 2006.
The EKWMA issued a no objection certificate (NOC), valid for a year on 1 August, 2007 on the condition that a boundary wall should be built around the dumping ground to check spillage and plastic should be segregated outside this area. The NOC was to be renewed every year after submitting a detailed report to the pollution control board and the EKWMA. After that the NOC issued by the EKWMA was never renewed. Neither the boundary wall was constructed nor the segregation was made effective. According to scientists, scientific and layered landfilling of such dumping grounds are the cheapest and the most effective way in which the waste gets decomposed over the period of time and methane gas could be easily trapped. But, landfilling at Mollar Bheri has been so haphazard that scientific landfilling has become impossible.
The officials of the EKWMA sent a notice to the municipality in 2009 seeking the current status of the dump site, but the notice was ignored. On 14 February, 2011, chairperson Ms Anita Mandal and the CIC garbage Mr Debasis Jana of newly-formed municipal board run by the Trinamul Congress were called for a meeting where they were told categorically that the unauthorised dumping of waste at Mollar Bheri would be stopped by issuing a notice.
“We know that an alternate space has to be found for dumping the waste, but the municipality has to come up with a plan, said Mr Nitai Kundu, chief technical officer of EKWMA.
Mr Jana refused to speak about the matter. However, he highlighted several other plans of solid waste management for which the civic authorities had shown an expenditure allocation of Rs 1.75 crore in the previous budget. He said that the municipality is planning to set up a solid waste management plant and vermicompost plant at Mollar Bheri. The structure of the vermicompost plant has already been completed, he added. Interestingly, the structures he referred to was built during the chairmanship of Mr Biswajiban Majumder and now lies defunct.
Mr Jana also talked about generating energy from the waste dumped at Mollar bheri. However, such a technique of waste management had successfully been experimented by the West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency (WBREDA) at Mollar Bheri in April 2005. But the project could not take off as the fate of the dumping ground came in question and waste from Salt Lake was not enough to implement the project.