6-yrs on, GDA fails to find alternative to hazardous waste insulator

Suhail Bhat
Srinagar, Apr 21: Des-pite passage of more than six years, Gulmarg Development Authority (GDA) has failed to find an alternative to the hazardous waste insulator after it failed to get environment clearance from the Pollution Control Board while the lack of scientific waste management and its disposal is affecting the fragile environs of Kashmir’s famed tourist resort, Gulmarg.
A GDA official said in 2009, Gulmarg Development Author-ity procured a waste insulator to cater to the mounting rubbish piles that are dumped in the forest without any treatment. “Since the Archaic technology simply burns the waste. The Pollution Control Board and environmentalists declined consent as they felt the emanating residue would have had greater environmental implications,” he said.
He said there are as many as 50 structures – comprising private and Government hotels and huts – in the meadows of Gulmarg and they produce a maximum of five tonnes of garbage every day. Going by the official figures, the Gulmarg produces nearly 150 tonnes garbage in a month.
The locals said the workers of local Municipal Committee dump all kinds of garbage which they collect every day inside the dense woods of Gulmarg and Tangmarg. The Municipal Committee has been dumping the garbage on a pony track of Gulmarg to Baba Reshi, which is full of Pine and Deodar. As a result, the residents of Baba Reshi said, entire area stinks and several trees spread over the track have died down over the past few years which is posing a clear threat to the flora and fauna and hampering the overall sustainable development.
Javaid Ahmad, a local, said the Gulmarg Development Authority has piled thousands of kilogrammes of rubbish around the banks of Kaeh Nallah in Gulmarg through routine dumping which has resulted in massive contamination of the water. The water is consumed by nearly 30 villages and has led to the destruction of many green trees. “The dumped garbage is also not treated suitably, a certain insulation plant was procured in 2009 but abandoned instrument is biting the dust at near Mechanical Engineering office of Tangmarg.
“The authorities have paid no attention to the problem despite regular reminders even though area also housed a revered shrine of a Sufi saint,” he said. Chief Executive Officer GDA, Shafqat Iqbal, when contacted said that the tendering process for the procurement of the Waste Management Plant is in its final stage and they have already designated land for its installation.
“We have evaluated the tenders and have sent the tenders to contract committee to finalise the tenders. We have also identified nearly 1500 kanals of land at the Gulmarg slaughterhouse. Within next few months the technology will be installed wherein waste will be treated on scientific lines,” he said. Asked about the reasons for the delayed installation, he said: “Poor response from the bidders delayed the process.
“We have issued tenders for more than three times but the lack of response forced to revive the tendering process. There is no problem now,” he said. When asked about improper and unscientific management of waste and its dumping, he said: “It is not our problem alone. The whole State has this issue and a comprehensive waste management programme is in the process. We have already written to the Central Government for it but we haven’t heard anything from them, so far.”

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