Manali: Recklessly dumping of muck extracted from road widening activities from the Manali by-pass road has irked residents and environmentalist. Most of the muck is being dumped into River Beas and along its bank even though the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has constituted a committee of officers to keep a check on the degrading environment around the tourist township. The panel includes members form the Ministry of Environment and Forest, HPSPCB and from the state forest department.
Earlier, the NGT passed the order on a petition filed by ex-army man turned into a social activist Madan Lal Sharma. The committee has accused that executing company, administration and politicians for being responsible in flouting rules laid out for muck dumping.
The tribunal bench, in its order, had clarified that the committee would also oversee whether the sites for dumping the muck were suitable for the purpose. The bench had appointed HPSPCB as a nodal agency for compliance of its directions.
Not just a scar on the clean environment but the gathering garbage is also threatening to kill the lush cedar trees in the forest. Besides the mounting heaps of daily garbage dumped also poses a health hazard to the people living in the area.
Residents of Manali town area are having sleepless nights due to sound of tractors, heavy earth movers dumping waste material on the banks of the bank of Beas river.
A local resident Jaswant Thakur said, Manali town is located on the bank of Beas river and dumping of debris of boarding of road and Making approach to new four lane bridge ,waste material of demolished buildings and sometime garbage at other side of the river has annoyed the locals.”
“It is a matter of concern that the illegal dumping is taking place right under the nose of police, forest department and the national highway authorities, but nobody has initiated any action against the violators of Supreme Court’s orders,” Jaswant added.
Dumping of debris, soil and garbage has caused a flood situation in recent the rainy season as waste at the right bank of the tributary may divert water towards the residential areas.
“Moreover, the material dumped here is hazardous and it can contaminate water of a number of water lifting schemes built along the Beas river ahead. The area residents have urged the local administration to look into the matter,” stated Thakur.
Sanjay Dutta, an engineer by qualification but is a journalist by choice.
He has worked for the premier new agency Press Trust of India and leading English daily Indian Express.
With more than a decade of experience, he has been highlighting issues related to environment, tourism and other aspects affecting mountain ecology.
Sanjay Dutta lives in a village close to Manali in Kullu valley of Himachal.