Courts Order Administration to Find Alternative Garbage Site in Kullu

Reported by

Himdhara Environment Research and Action Collective

Legal Data by

Edited by

Updated by

Published on

June 6, 2019

June 6, 2019

Updated on

June 6, 2019

Location of Conflict

Pirdi

Balh, Mohal, Jarad and Talogi panchayats

Kullu

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Waste Management

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

Households Affected by Conflict

5621

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

4

ha

Starting Year

1991

State

Himachal Pradesh

Sector

Infrastructure

Pirdi, a village on the banks of river Beas in Kullu Valley in Himachal Pradesh, has been a common waste disposal site for Bhuntar Nagar Panchayat, Municipal Corporation Kullu (MC) and Shamshi village since 1991. The site also houses an incinerator that burns biomedical waste from the neighbouring areas of Mandi, Bilaspur and Kullu. 
According to the biomedical waste annual report of 2017-18 of the Himachal Pradesh Pollution Control Board, the Pirdi dumping site collects 340 kilogram of biomedical waste per day, in addition to the 18.74 metric tonnes of solid waste generated from nearby places. The installed incinerator, on the other hand, only has the capacity to treat 150 kilogram of waste per day. The dumping site is situated at a distance of five kilometres from the city and is one kilometre away from human habitation. The distance from the nearest water body is a mere 30 metres while seven to eight schools are located within three kilometres of the site. 
The residents of Balh, Mohal, Jarad and Talogi panchayats, which are in the vicinity of the dumping site, are anxious of health risks and environmental pollution. They have also complained about the foul smell emanating from the garbage. They allege that the garbage is being dumped illegally in the name of making compost. 
On June 19, 2017, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ruled that the Deputy Commissioner, Kullu, and Executive Officer of the Municipal Committees of Kullu, Manali and Bhuntar shall ensure that no garbage is dumped in Pirdi, adjoining Johar Village, particularly on the river bank. It was submitted that within two weeks from that day a site would be identified by the deputy commissioner where municipal solid waste would be dumped for its proper management and handling 
The Supreme Court also dismissed a plea of Kullu MC to continue to throw garbage at the Pirdi dumping yard and incinerator plant and directed it to follow the orders of the NGT. When no action was taken for almost a year, and garbage continued to pile up in Pirdi in violation of the NGT judgement, the residents and members of Forest Rights Committees (FRCs) from the three panchayats staged a protest in Kullu in September 2018, forcibly stopping waste collecting vehicles at the site by blocking the road. They had also submitted a memorandum to the concerned authorities earlier. 
When Kullu MC could not find an alternative site for disposal, it moved the Supreme Court to seek relief. On October 1, 2018, Kullu MC bought itself four weeks’ time from the Supreme Court but it again failed to find an alternative site. Following this, the residents took to the road again at the end of October. After the relief period, the municipal council continued to dump garbage here. Nobody came to stop them. They are causing harm to the environment. 
The municipal corporation should comply with the Supreme Court order, Joginder Thakur, president of FRCs in Balh Panchayat, told Land Conflict Watch. In response to this, the municipal corporation once again approached the apex court, which dismissed its plea and directed it to stop dumping by January 2, 2019.
Meanwhile, in the absence of an alternative site, the garbage continued to be thrown in the open, posing a problem to residents and tourists alike. 
In early January 2019, the district administration and MC recognised two alternative dumping sites in Bajaura and Dughilug villages, but the residents refused to give an NOC following the Gram Sabhas. 
Subsequently, in February 2019, the administration finalised Aima panchayat in Kangra district as the site for establishing the new solid and liquid waste management plant. In a newspaper report, the Kullu DC stated that, the garbage from 11 wards would collected and disposed of scientifically at the new plant. He also lay emphasis upon ensuring that the project was environment-friendly. As per a 2020 news report, the site is operable. 

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Complaint against procedural violations

Opposition against environmental degradation

Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand to shift the location of the waste disposal site

Region Classification

Urban and Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

Yes

When did it end?

February 2019

Why did the conflict end?

Conflict ended due to any other reason

Following the court orders, and based on the NGT rulings, the Kullu administration selected a new site for waste disposal in February 2019. It is a new solid and liquid waste management plant in Aima Panchayat of Kangra district.

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016
National Green Tribunal Act, 2010
Section 19 [This section states the Procedure and powers of Tribunal.]
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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:

Lack of legal protection over land rights

Violation of environmental laws

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Disposed

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

National Green Tribunal, Supreme Court of India

Case Number

Original Application No. 237 (THC)/2013 (M.A. No. 325/2016 & M.A. No. 687/2017) and Original Application No. 492/2014; Civil Appeal No(s). 10224/2018

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

NGT ordered that, The Deputy Commissioner, Kullu Manali, Executive Officer of the Municipal Committees of Kullu-Manali and Bhuntar shall ensure that no garbage is dumped at Pridi adjoining Johar Village particularly on the river bank. It is submitted that within two weeks from today a site will be identified by the Deputy Commissioner where the municipal solid waste should be dumped for its proper management and handling and in fact it should be strictly in accordance with Solid Municipal Waste Management Rule, 2016. Whatever waste that has been collected at that site near the river should be removed within the same period positively. If there is need for extension of time it may be applied for. However the site be identified within two weeks from today. There shall be no more dumping or any waste at Pride site on the river bank. Supreme court gave extension of 8 (eight) weeks time, as prayed for, is granted to finalize the dumping sites and to make them functional and directed the authority concerned, to release, whatever funds have been sanctioned, within a period of two weeks from date of order.

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

No items found.

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Advocacy (for inclusion in courts)

Blockades

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Campaigns (grassroots organisations/press releases/media)

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Kullu Municipal Committee, Kullu District Administration, Forest Rights Committees, Balh, Mohal, Jarad and Talogi panchayats, National Green Tribunal

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

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:

Residents of Balh, Mohal, Jarad and Talogi villages

Resources Related to Conflict

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

Image Credit:  

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