HC seeks headmen’s cooperation

Jowai garbage woes

SHILLONG, May 13: The High Court of Meghalaya on Friday requested the headmen concerned of villages to sit down with the representatives of the state government and the Municipal Board to ensure that a quick and equitable solution is found to the garbage problem in Jowai.
The court made the request after hearing a PIL.
It was reported by the government as well as the Jowai Municipal Board (JMB) that things have improved since a temporary site was provided by the government to dump garbage.
The JMB, however, submitted that objections by the headmen of local villages near the permanent site prevented quicker removal of the garbage from Jowai town.
The government said the market area at Iawmusiang has been cleared. The JMB also said the streets have been cleared of garbage with vehicles being loaded with the rubbish to be carried away to the temporary dumping site.
The JMB said several garbage-laden vehicles are parked beyond the town limits to ensure that there is no spillage and also to avoid rain water getting into the garbage.
The petitioner relied on photographs showing a prominent part of Jowai town with garbage pile. The photograph is said to be of May 10. Another photograph of the same day shows garbage on the road, but the same is completely covered by plastic or tarpaulin sheets.
The third photograph shows several trucks lined up on a street beyond the town limits, presumably loaded with garbage but each is covered by plastic or tarpaulin sheets.
Both the government and the JMB said steps have been taken to ensure removal of garbage to the temporary site while awaiting the objections to be resolved for a long-term solution.
The JMB said the Health department has been roped in to ensure that there is no spread of disease from the collected garbage, lying on the streets and packed in vehicles.
The court observed that there has to be all-round cooperation to ensure a reasonable solution to the problem.
“It will not do for the garbage to remain piled-up in the streets for an indefinite period. Further, the lifting of the garbage into the trucks and the trucks being parked beyond the city limits can only be a measure taken for a day or two and cannot be continued indefinitely. The concerned headmen of the villages are requested to sit down with the representatives of the State government and the Municipal Board to ensure that a quick and equitable solution is found…
“The State and the Municipal Board should also keep the interests of the villagers in mind while choosing and securing the permanent site or sites. If necessary, the temporary and proposed permanent sites have to be sealed so as to insulate the villages from any spillage from the dumped garbage or seepage of rain-water contaminated by the dumped garbage,” a division bench said.
The court hoped the situation will improve with the intervention of the highest authorities in the state as it is a major problem in the area and may lead to health hazards, if not a catastrophe.

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