Sopore, Nov 4: The Municipal Council Sopore seems least bothered to address the issue of the “illegal” waste dumping site at Ningli area on Sofi Akbar Road which is being set ablaze by unknown people almost every day.
This has been taking place for a year since the municipality authorities began dumping garbage at the place. Locals rue that no action has been taken yet to nab the culprits.
The locals said there is not a single day when the garbage at the site is being set on fire. “We fail to understand who sets fire to garbage. Over a dozen trees have been damaged,” a lady said.
The locals complain that garbage heaps have become breeding grounds for dogs and eagles, which poses a threat to the health of residents.
“Heaps of garbage are lying scattered along the stretch, and a strong stench is emanating from the place,” said a local resident Ghulam Qadir.
According to the Sarpanch of the area, the land on which the waste is being dumped is forest land on which the local population has certain rights under the Forest Rights Act, also known as Community Forest Right (CFR).
“The community holding forest rights have certain duties as per Section 5 of Forest Rights Act 2006 which includes protection of wildlife, forests, and biodiversity of the area,” the Sarpanch said.
An official from the Fire & Emergency department said they have been continuously dousing off the flames at the dumping site for the past month. “It seems as if we have been posted for the Ningli dumping site only,” he said.
“This month we have visited the site at least 15 times. We receive calls from residents, municipality, and panchayat officials regarding the fire incident,” the official said, adding that the municipal council should resolve the issue at the earliest.
As per official sources, the site for the garbage dump was illegally established by a local municipal councillor on a panchayat land of which a case is pending in the high court. However, they said, that the court so far has not allowed them the site for dumping the garbage.
In 2021, the Gram Sabhas of some village panchayats in Sopore passed a resolution asking the Municipal Council Sopore to stop the “illegal” dumping of garbage on the village land which is an ecologically-sensitive area in close proximity to the forest.
Meanwhile, an official from the panchayat block told KNO that they had earlier sent a loss assessment to the municipal council which has not been compensated yet. “We sent an estimate of damage to at least 70 trees,” he said.
When contacted, President Municipal Council Sopore Musarat Rasool Kar said, “The land in question is a state land under the possession of forest.” He said the municipality had already stopped dumping on the site, adding that it was an “approach road to the proposed dumping site”.
“It seems some miscreants or land mafia are trying to defame the municipality just to grab state land in and around the area. Presently, the MC is dumping its waste at Baramulla,” Musarat said.
When asked about the losses as claimed by the panchayat block, Musarat said the land belongs to the state not to Panchayat.
The MC Sopore president also said that they have already approached for FIRs in this regard.
“In fact, we have registered a complaint for the third FIR at Police station Tarzoo/Amargrah,” he said.
However, the SHO concerned denied it and said that “from the last 3 months, there has been no FIR in this regard”.
Meanwhile, complaints have poured in from several areas of Sopore, including the main market, where garbage is seen lying on the roadside every 50 metres.
“The administration has failed to put in place effective measures for solid waste management,” said Farhat, a shopkeeper in Sopore town.
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