New Delhi, Mar 11: A Parliamentary Committee has asked for urgent steps to tackle municipal waste at the Ghazipur landfill in East Delhi and recommended converting the site into a park.
In its latest report, the Standing Committee on Urban Development has stressed on the need to begin bio mining work at the Ghazipur landfill site in the capital to help garbage removal, as was done by Indore Municipal Corporation.
The committee, headed by Bharatitya Janata Party Member of Parliament Jagdambika Pal, observed that the plan is to convert Delhi's landfill site into a park. The same had been done by the Indore Municipal Corporation in 2019 after 13 lakh tonnes of waste was cleared.
It was also noted that the output from bio mining of the site would be used in construction plants and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has also agreed to take 5000 metric tonnes of soil from the site for road construction.
The parliamentary panel has also found that out of Rs 5,026 crores worth of funds released for solid waste management in urban areas, the total fund utilisation has been as low as Rs 3,470 crores.
The committee also noted that states like Bihar, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha, Haryana, Tripura and Manipur are lagging behind in terms of fund utilisation while Meghalaya, Jharkhand, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat have fared well.
The 30-member parliamentary committee criticised the lower utilisation of funds under Atal Mission and Rejuvenation of Urban Transport (AMRUT) scheme, on water supply, on sewage connections in prominent areas, and those covered under reforms agenda, recommending urgent corrective steps.
The panel also noted that as of this moment, performance in installation of water connections and sewerage connections is below the set target. For instance, current water connections are 43 lakhs against the target of 139 lakhs.
Similarly, work done on the implementation of reform agenda like replacement of energy efficient lights was also scrutinised. The current number of 74 lakhs falls short of the target set at 100 lakhs.
The committee also noted that work needs to be stepped up in other areas like credit rating, issuing municipal bonds and implementing online building permission system.
The Committee's examination revealed that a sum of Rs 2,300 crores has been proposed as budget estimate for the financial year 2020-21 as against a lower actual budget of Rs 1,020.02 crores and the revised estimate of Rs 1,300 crores during 2019-20.
Criticising the lower allocation for housing and urban development, the committee observed that during 2019-20, the budget estimate of Rs 2,650 crores was brought down to Rs 1,300 crores on the ground. It said that solid waste management projects were capital intensive with a completion time of between one and three years. Such funds released for Swachh Bharat Mission component during 2017-18 and 2018-19 were mostly first instalments against which subsequent demands have not been received from States/UTs resulting in lowering of funds for the revised estimate 2019-20. The committee observed that the same may be repeated during 2020-21.
Thus, higher funds have been proposed for 2020-21. The committee's examination of Swachh Bharat Mission allocation, releases and utilisation from after 2015-16 has revealed that as against the mission allocation of Rs 14,013 crores, the release of funds has been as low as Rs 9,790 crores and the level of utilsation is still lower at Rs 7,307 crores.
The committee also found that Karnataka and Kerala are lagging behind when it comes to fund releases and their utilisation. Whereas states like Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, Manipur and Mizoram were performing well.
The panel has recommended a special drive for persuading slow moving states to improve their performance.
Recommending corrective steps on their financial performance, the committee has found that out of the Rs 18,435.81 crores released as central assistance, utilisation certificates worth only Rs 13,586.09 crores has been received. It mentioned that only a few states like Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Rajasthan and Punjab have furnished their utilisation certificates in time.