Demonstrators argue the land for the project is in a densely populated residential area
On Friday, villagers in the Parigam area of Kakapora block, about 10 kilometres from Pulwama district headquarters, staged an hour-long protest against the planned construction of a waste disposal facility.
About 100 demonstrators participated in the protest, raising slogans like “Dumping site nahi chalegi” and “We want justice.”
The protesting villagers said that their village is not a landfill and urban waste should not be dumped in their locality.
“The district administration has identified around 37 acres of Kahcharai (State) land in Parigam village for the establishment of a waste disposal plant,” according to Firdous Ahmad, one of the protesters, but the identified land is surrounded by Rajab Colony – a densely-populated residential area.
Ali Mohammad Ahangar, a resident of the village and a representative of Auqaf Committee Parigam, said, “The planned site for garbage disposal also bears almond orchards, saffron fields and other agricultural fields in its close vicinity, and the disposal plant would impact the produce to a great extent.”
The locals, while speaking to Digpu News, said that they even raised the issue of the proposed establishment of the waste disposal plant with Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha and District Magistrate Pulwama, Baseer-Ul-Haq Chaudhary. “Both the LG and the DM Pulwama responded positively to our representation, but we fear the proposed plan is being executed by keeping us in the dark,” they lamented.
Since the start of door-to-door garbage collection in various wards across Pulwama town, the authorities were in search of State land for an integrated solid waste management plant, according to officials of Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) including Municipal Committee Pulwama.
“There have been frequent grievances from the local residents concerning dumping sites, especially on the outskirts of Pulwama town. We have been very careful in our executions, however, the proposed site for solid waste management plant at Parigam is the only solution of all the garbage related complaints,” Tehsildar Pulwama, Mr Tahir Ahmad Malik, told Digpu News.
He added that they did a complete survey of the areas surrounding the district headquarters and this (proposed site at Parigam) came out as the best alternative to replace and remove the existence of scattered dumping sites in the vicinity of Pulwama town.
Meanwhile, Executive Officer in Municipal Committee Pulwama, Mr. Iqbal Bhat, said that they have already measured the land which is about 33 Kanals and an amount of Rs. 80 lakhs for the fencing of the ‘waste disposal site’ has been sanctioned.
The official, however, assured that this won’t be a garbage dumping site but a modern solid waste management plant. “We know about the fears of the local residents and we assure them that their locality will have very little to no impact due to the proposed plant,” he added.
In fact, Digpu News reached out to District Magistrate Pulwama, Baseer-Ul-Haq Choudhary. The DM Pulwama said that a delegation from Parigam village recently visited him and he assured that he will look into their grievance so that their inconvenience is minimized.
“There would have certainly been a survey after which this site has been proposed by the officials. But still, I am on it and it will be solved within 10 days,” he said.
It is pertinent to mention that Parigam is one of the largest villages in the Pulwama district, situated on the Srinagar-Pulwama stretch of Mughal Road, surrounded by lush green meadows, paddy fields and a plateau of almond orchards. The main occupation of people is farming.
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