Pune villagers suffer as shifting of garbage depot delayed

Neha Basudkar
Sunday, 3 June 2018

In the run-up to World Environment Day celebrated on June 5, Sakal Times highlights the problems being faced by residents of Uruli Devachi and Phursungi due to the presence of garbage depot in the area

Pune: Even after a year of staging protest by the villagers of Uruli Devachi and Phursungi to shift the Uruli-Phursungi garbage depot to another place, the depot continues to remain at the same place. 

The depot was supposed to be shifted to Pimpri Sandas after Guardian Minister Girish Bapat directed to do so in 2015, but the issues seem to be ignored by the minister and the civic authority. 

Speaking on the issue Suresh Jagtap, head of PMC Solid Waste Management, said, “We are in process to start the project of 750 metric tonnes of garbage processing at Ramtekdi. The processed material will be then taken to Pimpri Sandas. It will take some months to acquire the land of Pimpri Sandas and start the processing unit at Ramtekdi. Till that time, the dumping will take place at the same depot.”

Adv Aseem Sarode, a lawyer of the villagers, said, “In 2005, the Mumbai High Court had ordered the PMC to shut the garbage depot completely because it is working beyond its capacity and also the land is not good to be used as a landfill site. The matter remained stagnant in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for six to seven months. The PMC is blatantly ignoring the HC order.”

Bhagwan Bhadhale, President of Uruli Devachi Kachra Depot Hatao Sangharsh Samiti, said, “There is no progress by the PMC to shift the garbage depot. Jagtap had told us during the last year’s protest that, they will be shifting the depot to Gultekdi soon. We are waiting for the same. If this does not happen soon, we will stage another protest. We have already suffered a lot due to it and we do not want our children to suffer from it in the future.”

Raju Badhale, Uruli and Phursungi Panchayat Samiti member, said, “Every time, the PMC is asking for an extension from the court to find another place for garbage dumping. Due to the unprocessed garbage, a landfill is increasing because of which natural source of water is depleting. Even the water from our borewells is not potable. We are fighting for this for a very long time, as our water, air and land are getting contaminated due to it.”

Dhananjay Banate, a resident of Uruli, said, “Both the government and the civic body are neglecting our woes. Now, they have said that it will be transferred to Ramtekdi. But it will take time. But this is not the way the government should work.”

Shankar Harpale, standing sarpanch of Phursungi, said, “The land initially belonged to villagers of Uruli and Phursungi for animal grazing and some land belonged to private owners. Later in 1965, the village chief gave some acres of land on lease to a private company. The company later transferred the land to PMC without any consultation of the villagers. The total area of land which is in dispute is 199 acres and the garbage depot is spread across 100 acres.”

Working beyond capacity
- Hanumant Shitole, Sanitary Inspector of PMC, told Sakal Times team during the visit to the garbage depot, that the depot has the capacity to process 500 tonnes daily. “But every day, we get more than 700 tonnes of dry waste. The processing units have been shut down since 2013, as both the units are under arbitration. These units used to make compost but they were not functioning at optimum level and the process of making compost was also not done properly. 
- The villagers of Uruli and Phursungi are getting severely affected by it as they are suffering from problems of land, water and air contamination, but nothing can be done unless and until the garbage depot is shifted,”
- Jagtap said, “The city used to generate around 300 tonnes of garbage daily in 1991. Now, it generates nearly 2,000 tonnes of garbage a day, out of which 50 per cent is wet garbage, 35 per cent is dry garbage and 15 per cent is rejected. Around 20 to 25 per cent of the total garbage generated in the city is plastic.”

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