The Bengal urban development and municipal affairs department will improve the waste management system of Siliguri in collaboration with the Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority (SJDA).
The announcement was made by Nandini Ghosh, a joint secretary of the department, on Friday.
Justice Saibal Dasgupta, an expert member of the National Green Tribunal, along with Ghosh, visited different areas of Siliguri to check out arrangements made to curb the Mahananda river’s pollution according to the directives issued by the NGT earlier.
“During our visit, we took stock of the existing waste disposal system of the civic body (Siliguri Municipal Corporation). We want to improve the overall solid and liquid waste management of the city to mitigate pollution,” said Ghosh.
She said at one of the yards at the dumping ground of the SMC – located off Eastern Bypass, it was found that 90 per cent of the waste had been cleared.
“We plan to develop an eco-park in the area. A new waste disposal site will be developed gradually in collaboration with the SJDA by setting up treatment plants,” the official added.
Sources at the SMC said 350 tons of garbage were disposed of at the yard daily.
Ghosh, who is also in charge of the liquid waste monitoring cell of the department, said her department would work according to the instructions of Justice Dasgupta.
The State Urban Development Agency (SUDA) has sanctioned Rs 63 crore for setting up three sewerage treatment plants (STPs) at different locations along the bank of the Mahananda that flows through the city to reduce pollution of the river.
“There are plans to install three STPs on the bank of the Mahananda with the help of the SJDA for the liquid waste management of the city. We are trying to identify the land for setting up one of the plants. For the rest of the plants, the pump houses and civil structures are ready. Once the plants become operational, 40 million litres of liquid waste will be treated every day and then the water would be channelised into the river. This will considerably reduce pollution levels of the Mahananda,” said Ghosh.
Sources said the SJDA had already put iron nets at 12 major outlets which release water into the river.
The plan to install the STPs was drawn up under the Mahananda Action Plan that was mooted during the erstwhile Left Front rule. The project was taken up in 2011 when the Trinamul Congress came to power. The plan was stalled later after financial regularities had been found at the SJDA in connection with the project.
On Friday, officials of the state pollution control board, Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority, SUDA, SJDA and the SMC held a meeting with Justice Dasgupta and Ghosh. Gautam Deb, the chairperson of the board of administrators at the SMC, was also present.
Sourav Chakraborty, the new chairman of the SJDA, said the authority would carry out the modernisation work of Bidhan Market, the largest of the kind in Siliguri, and build alternative roads to ease traffic in the city.
Chakraborty, who assumed charge here on Friday, said the SJDA would consult experts of Jadavpur University for the projects.
“Next week, we will discuss details of the projects with Gautam Deb. We will expedite some of the ongoing projects, work of which had almost come to a halt because of the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.