The Turbhe dumping ground has a long list of problems from failed projects and illegal dumping to non-functional CCTV cameras. Cityplus delves deeper into the innumerable problems at the site
The Shiv Saniks in the city conducted a research on the Turbhe dumping ground and made a startling revelation. Sources confirmed that the civic body incurred a total loss of `60 crores due to the many failed projects and plans laid out by the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC). The controversy continues and Cityplus reveals the many loopholes of this controversial site.
Illegal dumping yard
According to the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), a dumping ground should be at least 500 meters away from the residential area. The Turbhe dumping ground clearly violates this rule, thus making the ground illegal. A few social activists fought against the illegal dumping ground but to no avail.
Vasant Mhatre, a social worker who has been fighting against the Turbhe dumping ground since December 2009 adds, “This dumping ground is against the Environment Protection Act and Municipal Solid Waste Rules 2000. High Court has given orders to stop the dumping of garbage at Turbhe in a 1999 plea. This was supposed to be implemented within nine months. The High Court has also allotted a plot 127, behind Krishna Street in Turbhe, as a dumping ground. However, garbage is still being dumped near Balaji ground. I have filed a petition to stop using the Balaji ground to dump garbage and the result is expected shortly.”
Smita S, a resident of Turbhe adds, “Due to the dumping ground, residents of the area regularly fall sick. There is no NMMC hospital in the locality. As most of us are financially weak, we cannot afford the heavy fees of private doctors and hospitals.”
Suresh Mhatre, Transport committee member adds, “Recently we caught a container carrying dead animals and the remains of buffaloes on their way to the Turbhe dumping ground. Residents are already facing so many problems due to the dumping ground and the stench from these carcasses will only add to the health problems in the localities.”
The NMMC are already facing the problem of insufficient dumping grounds. The city has been generating a lot of garbage and the waste from Kharghar, Panvel and Uran nodes are also dumped here.
M/S Khilari Associates is the present contractor and has been the contractor for the past 10 years. The Shiv Saniks allege that he is misusing public money in the name of development. Manoj Haldankar, a Shiv Sena corporator further explains, “Contractor M/S Khilari Associates was appointed by the NMMC to maintain and repair the dumping ground. They have been extending the contract from the past 10 years without supervising the condition of the dumping ground or the work being carried out by the contractor. The officer hired to manage the dumping ground is the same for the past 10 years. The contractor has laid down many plans and projects and extracted money from the officials for the same, without actually putting the plans into actions. We have demanded a termination of his contract and an enquiry regarding the losses incurred.”
NMMC commissioner, Bhaskar Wankhede, adds, “We will be starting an enquiry against the contractor and if he is found guilty, strict action will be taken.”
CCTV non functional
Haldankar further adds, “We had asked the commissioner to watch the CCTV footage. This would reveal to him the complete work process at the dumping ground. However, we learnt only later that the CCTV is not functional.”
Failed projects and plans
The civic body is said to have incurred huge loses due to various projects laid out by the contractor M/S Khilari Associates. Haldankar adds, “We found that projects including manure from garbage, carbon credit project (landfill gas project), lichet plant project and land filling projects have not started. NMMC suffered a loss of around 60 crores due to these projects.
Another project that has not yet been implemented is the carbon credit cell at the Turbhe landfill site. The project is meant to reduce the percentage of hazardous methane gas present in the air and use it to generate power. Some other projects are also kept on hold due to space constraints. The projects kept on hold will save the NMMC from suffering further losses.
A British company was given the contract of generating electricity from the garbage dumped at Turbhe. The project was expected to generate 1.5 megawatt electricity over a period of time and the electricity produced would be sold to Indian companies. With this project, NMMC was expected to earn revenue of `70 lakh per year. However, this is just another example of a failed project.