Lack of funds stops citizen group’s clean-up at Kalyan dump yard

A citizens’ group in Kalyan that undertook segregation of waste at the Adharwadi dump yard in the city’s western side have stopped work because the Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) allegedly failed to provide funds to aid them.

Sreeniwas Ghanekar, founder of Jagruk Nagrik (Alert Citizens Group), said his group began segregating waste in November last year when the civic body assured it would provide funds to pay hired workers.

“We have worked here for almost 70 days now and the civic body has not even given a single penny to us,” Ghanekar said.

The residents’ group had hired 10 to 12 women living in a nearby slum to carry out the segregation work on its behalf.

However, KDMC commissioner Govind Bodke said, “The residents had asked for some portion of the dumping ground to carry out their [waste segregation] project which we allowed. We did not assure to provide funds. The civic body is not in a position to spend. The residents undertook the project themselves, which we supported by giving permission.”

Members of Jagruk Nagrik so far claim to have segregated 18 feet of piled up waste within half an acre of the 15-acre dump yard, on which 600 metric tonnes of garbage is piled up daily, with some mounds reaching almost 25 feet in height.

“So far, I paid the workers who were segregating the waste. Even Kalyan MLA Narendra Pawar helped with some funds. But now it is becoming difficult to keep the work going as we are in need of more money,” Ghanekar said.

“We have now decided to protest against the civic body as all the promises given to us were false. We have been working genuinely on this project and the civic body is not supporting us in any way,” said Vandana Sonawane, member of Jagruk Nagrik.

Residents have been asking for the closure of the Adharwadi dump yard ever since two back-to-back fires last year caused a lot of pollution and health hazards for them. In March last year, a major fire broke out at the dump yard along the Ulhas creek near the Durgadi bridge and released thick smoke that caused severe respiratory problems for people in the neighbourhood.

After residents took to the streets, demanding the KDMC close the dump yard, the civic body assured it would take preventive measures to curb fires. But the dump yard caught fire again the next month.

In April 2018, Ghanekar, who is also an RTI activist, wrote to civic commissioner Bodke, inviting him to his housing society on Agra Road to witness how residents segregated and reduced wet waste through a decomposer solution formulated by him.

Ghanekar claimed his solution decomposed 30% of wet waste within 40 days.

He suggested that spraying this solution would help decompose wet waste at the dump yard. Bodke could not get KDMC to initiate the project but gave permission to Ghanekar and his group to carry out the project on their own on an acre of the dump yard.

First Published: Jan 17, 2019 00:53 IST

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