Villagers protest against planned hazardous waste disposal facility in Surendranagar

A public hearing for a proposed hazardous industrial solid waste treatment and disposal facility in Ralol village of Surendranagar has been canceled after hundreds of residents from nearby villages showed up to protest the project.

The Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) had scheduled a public hearing in Ralol village of Limdi taluka on Thursday for the Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facility (TSDF), proposed by Row Gold Waste Management Pvt Limited (RGWMPL), a company registered in Rajkot.

According to the draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report submitted by the company to the GPCB, the company has acquired a 4.85 hectare piece of land in Ralol, one kilometer from the national road 8 which connects Ahmedabad to Rajkot. The company is proposing to set up a TSDF with the capacity to process and store 2.75 lakh metric tons of hazardous industrial solid waste and dispose of it as landfill material at the site. The company is proposing to develop the facility at a cost of Rs 30 crore of which Rs 2.74 crore will be earmarked for environmental management program including prevention of land, water and air pollution .

“However, residents of Ralol and neighboring villages protested vehemently against the proposed project during the public hearing. They said they didn’t want that hazardous waste disposal facility in their neighborhood. In the eye of protests, we have accepted letters of objection submitted by six to seven panchayats from neighboring villages and closed the proceedings,” ND Zala, Resident Supplementary Collector (RAC) of Surendranagr told Indian Express on Friday.

The CCR was appointed chair of the public hearing.

“As locals are aggressively opposing the proposed project, it is up to the project proponent to convince them and then contact GPCB again to reschedule the public hearing,” Zala added.

RGWMPL acquired the private land in the village for the installation of the TSDF with an annual processing capacity of 204 tons of hazardous industrial waste. According to the draft EIA, the facility will remain active for seven years and once its capacity of 2.75 lakh metric tons has been utilized, it will be covered and the quality of land, water and oil air will be monitored in its vicinity for the next 30 years. to prevent any leachate, etc. to cause pollution. The project will generate jobs for about 100 people during the construction phase and for about 20 people during its operation.

The project developer further asserts in the EIS that in addition to member industries, the proposed TSDF, approximately 100 km from Ahmedabad and 21 km east of Limbdi town, will attract industries to the district. .

“However, the proposed project site is 3.5 kilometers from the Bhogavo River. The project also planned to draw 30,000 liters of water from the Narmada Canal, which also passes through the project site. Given the poor track record of oversight of these TSDFs by the state government, the dumping of hazardous industrial waste in the TSDF will pollute the agricultural lands, aquifers and air in the area and make life difficult for the residents” said Mudita Vidrohi, an activist with Gujarat Lok Samiti, an NGO working for people’s rights.

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