Chandrapur Residents in Assam Protest against Proposed Solid Waste Treatment Plant

Reported by

East Street Journal Asia

Legal Data by

Bhavesh Seth, Mukta Joshi

Edited by

Moushumi Sharma

Updated by

Published on

August 25, 2021

August 25, 2021

Updated on

August 25, 2021

Location of Conflict

Chandrapur

Kamrup

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Waste Management

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

5

ha

Starting Year

2019

State

Assam

Sector

Infrastructure

Chandrapur, 15 kilometres from Guwahati in Kamrup district, is an area of rich biodiversity and was once proposed to be the state capital of Assam. For the past two years, its residents have been protesting against the state government’s bid to set up an integrated solid waste management plant at the defunct Chandrapur Thermal Power Station. The government has proposed three other decentralised waste processing plants in Sonapur, Odalbakra and Basistha and has allocated land accordingly to the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC).

Chandrapur lies at the heart of the Amchang and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuaries and is surrounded by the Brahmaputra and three of its tributaries, including the Kolong river. The proposed waste dumping site sits near a World Bank-funded drinking water supply project of the Kolong. A functional waste treatment plant in the vicinity is likley to increase the chance of contamination of the river water from any waste effluents that might spill into the river, especially during the rainy season. This will be hazardous not only to the people but also to the wildlife that drinks from the river.

Before Chandrapur was selected as an alternate site, the GMC dumped solid waste in Boragaon, which falls in the vicinity of Deepor Beel. The Beel is a freshwater lake, an elephant corridor and a protected site. The state government, therefore, ordered the Kamrup Metro district officials on June 24, 2021, to stop dumping waste in Boragaon and utilise the alternate site in Chandrapur. Following this directive, the GMC started dumping waste in Chandrapur from June 28 onwards, sparking protests from the residents of the area.

"The waste has already destroyed the ecology of Deepor Beel, and now it will pollute the waters of the Kolong and the Brahmaputra,” Tutumani Kalita, a resident of Chandrapur and a leader of the All Assam Students’ Union, told LCW during a protest. He added that the people feel vulnerable and have approached the court on multiple occasions to resolve the matter.

Environ, an environmental management agency, says it disregards this ‘dumping culture’ by the government for the disposal of solid waste in the city’s suburbs and rural areas. According to the agency, precious land is being turned into toxic landmass due to waste, which eventually poses a threat to biodiversity, the environment and human life.

In 2019, GMC officials and district authorities made multiple visits to all the proposed sites in Guwahati identified for setting up the solid waste management plants.

On March 10, 2021, responding to a suo moto notice, the Gauhati High Court stated that the main issue in dealing with solid waste in the city is the absence of a solid waste management plant and noted that such a plant is an absolute priority. 

In the morning hours of July 14, 2021, police allegedly lathi-charged and attacked many protesters who had blocked 21 waste-dumping vehicles of the GMC from entering the proposed dumping site at the defunct thermal power station. One person was seriously injured and had to be rushed to the hospital. The people allege that the GMC has started dumping waste in their area without any proper infrastructure to manage the waste.

Meanwhile, the Gauhati High Court has issued a notice to the state government seeking details of the plan to build the four waste-processing plants.  

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Complaint against procedural violations

Opposition against environmental degradation

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand to relocate Chandrapur dumping ground; Demand to declare Chandrapur an eco-tourism spot; Demand for revival of closed industries.

Region Classification

Urban and Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Forest and Non-Forest, Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

605

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Year of Estimation

2021

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016
Clause (A)(vii), Schedule I: [Landfill site must be 100 metres away from rivers, 200 metres away from ponds, highways, habitations and water supply wells and must not be permitted within critical habitat areas or sensitive eco-fragile areas]; Clause (A)(ix), Schedule I: [A buffer zone of no development must be maintained around solid waste processing and disposal facilities]; Clause (J), Schedule I: [Closure and suitable rehabilitation of old dumps by biomining, capping or any other suitable method]
Electricity Act, 2003
Section 3(iv): [The Union government may lay down standards for the discharge of environmental pollutants]; Section 7: [Persons carrying on any industry, operation or process cannot discharge environmental pollutants in excess of prescribed standards]; Section 8: [Persons handling hazardous substances must comply with procedural safeguards]
  1. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  2. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  3. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  4. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  5. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  6. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  7. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community?

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Violation of environmental laws

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Pending

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

National Green Tribunal, The Gauhati High Court

Case Number

Original Application No. 472/2018; PIL (suo moto) No. 3 of 2017

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

NGT – On November 2, 2020, the Tribunal ordered that both legacy waste and current waste be dealt with in terms of the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016. The matter is pending. High court - After numerous directions issued by the high court, the advocate general of Assam informed the court on August 4, 2021, that waste management plants would be constructed and commissioned in the state within a year. The court did not object to the disposal of waste at the Chandrapur thermal power plant site until the other plants were constructed, explaining that there was no other space available for dumping waste and that it was in the larger interest of the city of Guwahati.

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Lathicharge/teargas/pellets

Physical attack

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Reported Details of the Violation:

Police allegedly lathi-charged and attacked many protesters who had blocked 21 waste-dumping vehicles of the Guwahati Municipal Corporation from entering the proposed dumping site at the defunct thermal power station. One person was seriously injured and had to be rushed to the hospital.

Date of Violation

July 13, 2021

Location of Violation

Chandrapur

Nature of Protest

Blockades

Protests/marches

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Campaigns (grassroots organisations/press releases/media)

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Guwahati Municipal Corporation, Assam Power Generation Corporation Limited

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

LCW called up Executive Engineer Manojit Bujarbaruah but did not get any response.

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

All Assam Students' Union, Chandrapur Anchalik Chatra Santha

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

Image Credit:  

Image Credit:  

G Plus

Documented By

Text Link

Reviewed By

Text Link

Updated By

Text Link

Edited By

Text LinkLand Conflict Watch
X

Support our work

Your contribution ensures continuity of this crucial project.

As a member, you will get exclusive access to special reports, policy papers and research projects undertaken by Land Conflict Watch and behind-the-scenes interactions with the writers and researchers about their work.
Join Now