Sniawbhalang Dhar

Shillong: Meghalaya Minister incharge of Urban Affairs Sniawbhalang Dhar on Monday informed the House that a Detailed Project Report (DPR) is yet to be prepared for land acquisition in Ri-Bhoi District for setting up a Waste Disposal Project.

He was responding to a question raised by Umroi MLA George Lyngdoh concerning the land acquisition. Dhar said the government aims to set up the waste disposal project at Kyrdem Village in Ri-Bhoi with a total estimated size of approximately 200 acres.

A public hearing was held on January 8 and a presentation on the details of the proposed project was highlighted to the public of the area, the minister shared. 

Lyngdoh, however, said the government was trying to scout for land without a DPR in hand. He stated that the document circulated to the public was of sanitary landfill to be set up in Kyrdem Village

“Should we assume that land acquired is for a sanitary landfill?” questioned Lyngdoh.

The minister responded by stating that a final DPR can be prepared after the area has been finalised, especially when they have the consent of the people. 

According to Lyngdoh, in the proposed area there are many springs, water sources that feed all the adjoining villages. “Now that we know that the DPR is yet to be prepared, the land hasn’t been surveyed properly, the people are in chaos. The people are up in arms. They are against the project because the department is not sure what they are trying to set up,” the MLA said.

The Urban Affairs minister acknowledged that the department did face opposition but said for the government, protecting the people of the area is of utmost importance. “Therefore, any decision taken by the government…until and unless people are satisfied, we will not go against their wishes,” said Dhar.

The Umrio MLA urged the Urban Affairs minister to take into confidence all the people concerned before any kind of project is thought of.

“As a local representative, we were caught unawares. When chaos happens, the people turn to the local representative and seek their views and guidance. So before such important projects are to be setup in any part of the state, legislators should be brought on board, people should be made aware and a proper public hearing conducted, then only the department will gain the confidence of the people,” stated Lyngdoh.

Landfills not dangerous/not detrimental to environment

All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) state president Charles Pyngrope highlighted that the acquisition of land for landfills is a common practice across the country. 

“Somehow the people feel that garbage is going to be dumped in our vicinity, thereby, creating a situation where entire villages surrounding that landfill will be affected along with their livelihood,” said Pyngrope.

The Trinamool leader urged the department to create awareness and assure the people that landfills are not dangerous or detrimental to the environment if the waste is treated as per required norms.

Dhar responded that for this project they will follow Solid Waste Management Rule 2016. Acknowledging that there was fear in the minds of people, Dhar said the department was creating an awareness campaign. 

Meanwhile, the Marten landfill located in Mawlai, Shillong city, has become a major concern for residents nearby and the stakeholders have urged the government to relocate the landfill. 

Mawlai MLA PT Sawkmie urged the department if they can speed up the identification of new landfill site to avoid overflowing of garbage from Marten. Dhar assured the MLA that the government is taken this matter seriously and is trying to come up with a new landfill at the earliest.

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