Background

There were many objections submitted in last 2 years to Noida Authority in regard to the proposed project and many RTIs were filed but response from them is abysmal. Authority has chosen to not to pay any heed to our objections and they have made mockery of the RTI system.

According to Municipal Solid Waste Management aka MSW Rules brought in effect 13 years ago by Ministry of Environment & Forests, cities are required to segregate waste at source, compost organic waste locally, ensure maximum recycling, treat biomedical and hazardous wastes carefully and only dispose inert (rejects) material only upto 15% into scientifically designed and managed landfills.
 
Clearly, therefore, landfilling all waste is illegal and having a landfill in such a deep proximity to residential areas is an even bigger sin.
 
Honorable Supreme Court has supervised the evolution & enactment of these standards and mandated that they must become part of ordinary municipal practices and imposed December 2003 as a deadline for major cities to comply with the Rules.
 
Since then, many Decembers have gone but civic agencies like Noida Authority continue to violate with impunity these legal norms and judicial directives on waste management. It is this callousness that has resulted in the current stinking state of affairs, which, without doubt, is a shameful statement on a city that prides itself as one of the most planned cities in NCR region.

Noida authority states that landfill at Sector 123 was proposed long time back in Noida Master Plan 2021 and no one objected to it. Noida Master Plan was approved on 09 Sep 2005 when no one existed in proximity to Sector 123. Is common man know what master plan is, where to find it and how to interpret it?
 
Can someone at Noida Authority explain why have they created high & medium density residential sectors in such a deep proximity to a location proposed for a landfill or vice-versa? They should have kept either of these; not both.

Also, does it mean that a Master Plan cannot be changed if it is approved? If that is the case then why Noida Authority keeps on changing the Master Plan per their own convenience and need? Why authority cannot change the Master Plan based upon mango people's concern?
 
Or has Noida Authority mandated to provision Noida Master Plan with every real estate transaction in the city to facilitate transparency to make sure that buyers are aware of these hazardous plants in localities where they are putting their hard earned money? (Nah! Are you serious???)
 
For everyone’s information, a so called High Tech Sanitary Landfill was proposed in Noida Master Plan 2021 along with carving out a high & medium density residential sectors i.e. Sector 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120, 121 and 122.
 
In Noida Master Plan 2031, Noida Authority rechristened High Tech Sanitary Landfill (term used in Master Plan 2021) as “SLF”. Is everyone on the planet aware what does SLF mean in Noida Authority’s Master plan 2031? Or has Noida Authority mentioned what does SLF stand for anywhere in their master plan 2031? No!!!
 
It seems to be a premeditated move by Noida Authority to conceal information related to landfill so that no one should get to know about their mismanagement & raise any objection and they can continue with their vicious plans.

During discussion with officials of Noida Authority, they always points to overflowing garbage in every street & corner as an indication of a crisis. What is not being shared is that this is a direct consequence of Noida Authority’s inaction of not having right waste management strategy over the years.

It has also been published in certain newspapers that many RWAs / residents are complaining about open grounds / vacant plots in their respective localities have been converted into dumping grounds and mosquitos are breeding, germs are multiplying, garbage has turned into thick stinking slime giving nightmare to residents and many more.
 
Please think about residents who would be having this controversial project with a capacity of 1500 metric tons of waste per day within bare minimum distance of 100 - 150 meters from their houses. When you cannot bear few hundred kilograms of waste; what will happen to residents in proximity of 1500 metric tons of waste?
 
What if, if the so called plant is not operational for any single day? 1500 metric tons of waste laying in proximity of high density residential cluster? Still no impact???
 
Noida Authority states that the proposed project is high-tech one and is safe & will have no impact. Can anyone explain the definition of High-tech one? NO!!! They do not have any answers. 
 
Are there roads in good condition where we can drive without potholes & bumps? Are there any pedestrian walking tracks in the city? Is there a good transport system (Sorry, rather question should be "Is there any public transport system in Noida"?
 
There is no valid parking concept in the city; vehicles are parked on the road covering 2/3rd of the road in front of corporate offices, markets. Isn't it authority's responsibility to take care of parking menace?
 
Go toward metro stations like City Centre, you cannot walk out of station without being bullied by auto drivers who always use the station road as there parking spot and misbehave & overcharge customers.
 
Isn't it surprising that the proposed project will be a HIGH-TECH one and will be maintained by world class standards the way all issues mentioned above and many more are being addressed?
 
For everyone’s information, on 15th Jan 2013, the Delhi High Court has questioned the setting up of waste incineration plants in residential neighborhood of Sukhdev Vihar. These plants were touted as “SAFE” by none other than Chief Minister of Delhi at many occasions.
 
The Delhi High Court has directed the civic authorities to shift the "SAFE" bio-medical waste incinerator at Okhla in south Delhi to a place outside residential limits following health concerns expressed by residents.
 
Ironically, we are living in a democratic country where our fundamental rights are being violated & abused by none other than our own government and / or government functionaries at different level whom we have voted for.
 
But we are for sure not willing to take any more of this attack on our Fundamental "Right to Life and to a Clean Environment".
 
This situation would have never occurred if Noida Authority had genuinely thought upon not choosing Sector 123 as the location for setting up the proposed project and have involved public in planning & decision making. The only auspicious occasion for such beginnings is NOW else it will be NEVER.
 
This is a SHAME!!!
 
There were many objections submitted in last 2 years to Noida Authority in regard to the proposed project and many RTIs were filed but response from them is abysmal. Authority has chosen to not to pay any heed to our objections and they have made mockery of the RTI system.
 
Noida Authority has to listen to mango people. They are not our masters and cannot do what they want to do. If there is something wrong, WE HAVE THE RIGHT to raise our voice, WE WILL raise our voice & WILL MAKE SURE that our voices are heard and appropriate action has been taken in interest of mango people & not just the Noida Authority.
 
The worst part is that construction has already started without any environmental impact assessment and mandatory approvals from competent authorities. The authority is simply denying any ongoing construction, even when the construction is clearly visible to everyone.
 
There has been a complaint registered with Ministry of Environment & Forests and Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh as well but in absence of any response from either of the functionary, a writ petition has been filed with National Green Tribunal, New Delhi against the proposed project at Sector 123, Noida.

Landfills are not permanent solution and Waste-to-energy (WtE) technologies brought in the country are absolutely obsolete ones and not at all safe for human beings in proximity.
 
It seems that our bureaucrats and policy makers are keeping a blind eye on so many protests/ issues related to landfills / WtE across the country? Protests are happening purely because there are loopholes in existing MSW rules that people with vested interest are exploiting. It is not that government is not aware of these loopholes but no one is taking any constructive action.
 
These rules also need a desperate revamp in view of changing times to:
  • plug the gap to stop exploitation / misuse by vested parties for sheer profit
  • be more workable and pragmatic including location specific rules as well
And if there are loopholes that everyone is aware of then how come so called genuine / sincere state level or city / town level development authorities like Noida Authority are not plugging the gap by coming up with more appropriate guidelines at the state and / or at local level?
 
Does anyone from Centre, State, city development authority, and municipality level care to answer or does this mean that our lives will be held on ransom due to exploitation of persisting ambiguities in more than decade old rules? And does this imply that we as a citizen should not expect policy makers to work in interest of public at large and we have to continue knocking doors of courts to have redressal for our grievances?
 
Please note that we are not against any progressive solution but want to make sure that there is no impact on lives of residents in proximity and there has to be absolute transparency.
 
We are ready to support Noida Authority in having an approach to be decided for waste management provided they give us time to hear us out as it is each citizen’s responsibility as well to keep environment clean. Appropriate technological solutions, social response strategies and necessary legal standards to tackle this problem have been around for a very long time.
 
Government cannot do it alone; it has to be a collaborative and tightly coordinated effort between Citizens, people from impacted area, NGOs, environmental consultants, legal experts and many ministries.
 
The only way to move forward is to understand our responsibility and provide support to all those who want to find a solution.
 
We can risk waiting or we can act now to safeguard our collective interests to ensure clean and hygienic living in Noida for our families.