A garbage mound in the basement of a building owned by the municipality. Picture by Chinlop Fudong Lepcha
Kalimpong, Dec. 23: The Kalimpong Municipality is up against another garbage protest.
The civic body has been forced to stop treating solid waste at the army dumping site near Durpin following protests by villagers of Chalisa and Chivvo Busty, 2km away.
The army had given permission to the municipality for the use of its site till January 31. The civic body has recently acquired land for a permanent dumping site at Lower Bhalukhop, but for the moment it cannot be used as the approach road is yet to be built.
In June, protests from villagers at Bhalukhop had forced the civic body to shift its dump yard. After that, none of the localities in town refused to have anything do with a dumping ground, even if it was temporary, near their vicinity.
The local army station at Durpin came to the civic body’s rescue by allowing the use of its dump yard in November.
Sangay Zimba, the municipality’s health officer, claimed the entire exercise of solid waste management was being done in a very scientific manner. “But the villagers complained about the foul stench and increase in the population of flies because of wastes,” he said.
Deepa Thapa, Chivvo resident and a local Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leader, said the waste was a health hazard for villagers living close to the dump yard. “We never had flies in our village till the municipality started dumping its waste here. The volume of garbage is far too big, which is why we opposed it. We, however, have no problems with the army wastes,” she added.
Zimba, however, promised that the municipality would find a way out of the mess and keep the streets of the town free from garbage, especially during Christmas and New Year. “Despite not being able to treat the wastes at the Durpin site, we have been lifting garbage, and will find a way of disposing it,” he said.
The department, the chairman said, is toying with the idea of burning the waste after segregating them at a suitable site.
The civic body is also speeding up work on the approach road to its new dumping site. “Hopefully, we will be able to ready the new site by January. Once the new site becomes operational, we will be free from all worries,” said Zimba.