Shifting of garbage dump: Residents of Bhagtanwala see ray of hope

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A view of the garbage dump at Bhagtanwala in Amritsar on Tuesday.
A view of the garbage dump at Bhagtanwala in Amritsar on Tuesday.

Urge state govt to hold survey to determine state of people’s health

With Punjab Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu hinting at shifting of Bhagtanwala garbage dump besides setting up the Solid Waste Management Plant (SWMP) out of the city’s boundaries, residents of localities around the dump see a ray of hope of an end to their woes.

However, they urged the Congress government headed by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh to take up this issue on a priority basis because it concerned the life and health of hundreds of people living around the garbage dumping site. They said until the dump and the site for the SWMP was shifted from the city, the municipal authorities should be directed to dump the garbage at other dumping sites also. This would lead to lesser pressure on this dumping site.

The residents also urged the government to hold a door-to-door survey in the localities around the garbage dumping site to ascertain the health conditions of inhabitants. “We had repeatedly pleaded with the SAD-BJP government to go through the exercise because a huge number of people around the site complained of chest infections and other health complications. As the majority of the residents in these localities belonged to the economically weaker section of society and are less educated, they consider it minor ailments while it could be symptoms of major health complications,” said Sandeep Kurl alias Sanjay, vice-president of the Saanjhi Sangharsh Committee.

The residents had been up in arms for shifting the dumping site as it was taking a toll upon their health. The committee had organised a massive protest that continued for months opposing the proposed SWMP. Congress leaders had also joined their agitation.
The residents also demanded that the government should pass instructions to the Punjab Pollution Control Board to check the air quality which had deteriorated due to continuous smoke emitting out of the garbage dump.

“The government should also organise medical camps in the area to provide relief and medicines to the ailing inhabitants who are forced to inhale polluted air due to the garbage dump,” the committee demanded.

What the issue is…

  • Residents have been demanding the shifting of Bhagtanwala garbage dump for years.
  • The Chief Minister has been urged to take up the issue on a priority basis as it affects the lives and health of hundreds of people.
  • People seek a door-to-door survey in localities around the dumping site to ascertain the health condition of inhabitants.
  • The Saanjhi Sangharsh Committee has held a massive protest opposing the proposed SWMP.

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