Kumbh Mela, the mega gathering of Hindu devotees, held earlier this year at Allahabad, generated 18,000 metric tonnes (MT) of solid waste. The Yogi Adityanath-led state government, which had spent a record Rs. 4,200 crore on the event, simply transported all of this garbage to the nearby Baswar village and dumped it in the premises of a non-functional Sewage Management Plant. The Baswar SMP has been non-operational since September 2018. The villagers at Baswar complained that nobody from the government came to visit the area after the festival.
The Baswar village is located 15 km away from the city. The National Green Tribunal has come down heavily on the government by terming it as “grossest violation.” In its report, NGT writes, “Shifting of approximately 2,000 MT of unsegregated solid waste from the Kumbh Mela area to the Solid Waste Management Plant knowing fully well that the plant has not been operational is the grossest violation of the orders of NGT and Solid Waste Management rules, 2016. The plant at Baswar has been lying practically closed since September 2018. The solid waste is lying in open, untreated and uncovered.”
Fearing potential increase in the cases of diseases like acute Diarrhea, enteric fever, viral Hepatitis and Cholera, the NGT has said that the situation needs to “be dealt on an emergency basis to avoid potential of epidemics in the area.”
Meanwhile, the foul smell as well as the flies and mosquitoes buzzing over the solid waste have made lives of the villagers difficult.
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It is worthy noting that this was the costliest ever Kumbh Mela. The previous government had spent around Rs 1,300 crore for the festival in 2013.
The Baswar plant is yet not operational despite the NGT’s order last month. As per the reports, all the five machines installed to treat solid waste are non-functional. According to the report submitted by the monitoring committee of NGT headed by Justice Arun Tandon, which was based on site inspections and observations, it was noted that “approximately 65-70,000 metric tonne of solid waste was lying at the Baswar plant of which 18,000 metric ton was the waste generated in the Kumbh area.”
Meanwhile, news agency IANS has reported, “a huge cavity in the boundary wall has developed, making way for the untreated waste to fall directly into the nearby Yamuna River, which finally flows into the Ganga.” The NGT report says, “Pucca constructions were being raised very near the river at Yamuna bank and despite notices to the Authorities, they did not disclose as to who has sanctioned the maps or building plans for such construction.”
A local requesting anonymity said, “If the waste is left untreated, the coming monsoon is going to bring miseries for the locals.”
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