The New Town Kolkata Development Authority (NKDA) aims to remove all roadside bins where garbage is now dumped from the motorised vans that pick up segregated domestic waste from doorsteps.
According to the plan, 15 waste transfer stations will be built across the township where litter collected from houses will be transferred to a large bin which will be picked up by a truck-mounted compactor for transfer to the Dhapa dumping ground.
Each station will be a 20ft high room, about 40ft in length, with rolling shutters. The collection vans as well as the compactor trucks will enter the station for the garbage transfer to take place inside. Eight will be in Action Area 1, which is the most densely populated, four in Action Area II and three in Action Area III.
But the authorities are facing resistance at the first site where they have started work. Several residents in AA Block are objecting to the location of the station, so much so that every day from 11am to 1pm, half a dozen residents keep vigil on the spot lest work resumes.
The chosen spot for the waste transfer station here is a side of a ground designated as Green Verge, facing Street 53. Residents are objecting to a green verge being thus misused. “A green verge is supposed to be a place of relaxation and physical activity for residents. It is also meant to ensure biodiversity of the ecosystem. How can garbage transfer take place here?” says Sourav Ghosh, who stays in a building adjacent to the site. Residents also fear that the loading and unloading activities will emit stench.
A pit dug at the site designated for the waste transfer station in the AA Block green verge
Residents came to know about the construction when labourers started digging a pit at the site on June 23. “We started a demonstration. Their supervisors came. We asked them if they could guarantee that there would be no foul smell in the vicinity, which they could not. Since then, we have met the officials twice at NKDA Bhavan, submitted a mass petition and also emailed our objection to the chief minister, the Hidco chairman and the NKDA chairman. Though they have not come back since, we are on our guard,” said AA Block secretary Manoj Kumar Kundu.
NKDA officials point out that the garbage will stay at the station for just a few hours. “Our mobile compactors will do the compaction inside the station, the squeezed-out fluid will flow directly into the sewage line underneath and we will wash the place once the truck leaves for Dhapa,” an official said. Rather, this system will make for a cleaner New Town, he pointed out, as the open-to-air 1,100 litre metallic bins now are kept on the roadside, leaving the garbage to rot in the rain and open to scavenging by strays.
NKDA chairman and Hidco managing director Debashis Sen said: “With the population set to multiply, we are trying to make the solid waste disposal system more organised and scientific. We appeal to residents to let us work,” said Sen.
One house in particular, he pointed out, seemed to have the most objection. “We will have another round of discussions with them. They have to understand that this is being done in general interest. And it is not as if we are introducing a garbage dump in a residential area. It will be an enclosed space and the garbage will be inside for only a few hours till they are transported to Dhapa,” Sen added.
Former block secretary Sushil Sarkar suggests that the proposed station be shifted to the side of the canal that flows by the block. “It should not come up in a residential area.”
Sen points out that New Town used to have large swathes of empty space but now uninhabited space is hard to come by, especially in Action Area I. “If we shift the site elsewhere, residents of that area are likely to object. Even then, we are not dogmatic in our stand. If we find a site acceptable to our engineers as well as residents we are ready to build the station there. But the spot has to be easily accessible by road.”
Construction has been postponed in AA Block and taken up elsewhere — opposite Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute, near Owl More and in Action Area III.
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