Ministry accuses Kathmandu City of reluctance in using Banchare Danda landfillThe City has been using the Sisdole landfill for 17 years although the site was originally meant for just three years.
The Ministry of Urban Development has accused the Kathmandu Metropolitan City of reluctance in dumping Valley’s garbage at Banchare Danda, an alternative landfill near the dumping site currently in use at Sisdole of Nuwakot district.
The Sisdole site, which is around 27 km west of Kathmandu, reached its capacity long ago.
Banchare Danda is 1.9km west of Sisdole.
Bishnu Prasad Sharma, joint-secretary and spokesperson for the Ministry of Urban Development, said the ministry had already written to the KMC twice to inform that Cell 1 of the dumping site at Banchare Danda is ready for use.
“Cell 1 at Banchare Danda landfill is ready for dumping garbage with all necessary amenities. We had written to the City twice earlier but they have not responded,” said Sharma.
The Department of Urban Development and Building Construction under the Urban Development Ministry on September 10 and September 30 last year had sent letters to the City to use Cell 1 at Banchare Danda.
On Monday last week too the Department dispatched a letter to the City.
“We have repeatedly told them to start using the landfill but they have not responded yet,” said Ram Chandra Dangal, deputy director general at the Department of Urban Development who is also project chief of the Banchare Danda site.
The City office, however, said the department is yet to officially hand over the site to the City and blames the ministry for ‘setting out tough conditions’ for the use of the new site.
Ishwar Man Dangol, spokesperson for the City, said his office could not start using Banchare Danda landfill because the ministry has not officially handed over the site to the City and the locals have yet to be consulted.
“Every day over 150 truckloads of garbage from Kathmandu Valley has to be dumped and the ministry has placed a condition that the City pay for any damage caused to the new landfill. So we have not used it,” said Dangol.
Ram Chandra Dangal, the project chief of the Banchare Danda landfill, however, said there was no such clause as claimed by Dangol. “We have sent an official letter to the City. We have not said they should pay for any damage but just asked them to exercise caution while using Cell 1 because construction of Cell 2 is still ongoing,” said Dangal.
According to Dangal, two contractors, Lumbini Koshi and Neupane JV, are involved in the construction of Cell 1 (already completed) and Cell 2 and tanks while Kalika Construction Company has been building retaining walls, an access road and other infrastructure. Construction at the new site that sprawls over 1,792 ropanis of land in Nuwakot and Dhading districts had started in May 2019.
“We completed Cell 1, and two ponds for leachate. We will be completing the overall construction with Cell 2 in two months,” said Sharma, the joint-secretary.
Back in 2005, the KMC had made a commitment to use the Sisdole landfill site for three years only but the landfill site continues to be used for 17 years.
The landfill site at Sisdole spread over 740 ropanis (37.65 hectares) continues to be used although it reached capacity several years ago. The site, which was originally a gorge, has become a stinking hill and the nearby settlements have complained of the hazards other than to human health: drop in quality of their agricultural produce and diseases in their livestock due to the leachate from the landfill.
Sisdole locals frequently obstruct garbage dumping at the landfill site. For over a week till February 24, locals obstructed lorries ferrying garbage in the road section between Kudkhu and Tinpiple on the Pasang Lhamu Highway protesting against the bad condition of the road stretch.
“The recent problem arose since the contractor did not blacktop the damaged road section, angering the locals. We managed to open the road section last week,” said Dangol.
Officials at the City said the Sailung Construction company owned by Sharada Prasad Adhikari was awarded the contract to blacktop and fix the road section between Murkhu and Rani Pauwa in 2013. But the construction company is yet to start work on the road section.
Although garbage collection in the Valley resumed on Friday, the garbage disposal problem at Sisdole is far from over since the landfill site needs to be cleared out by excavators to make space to dump more garbage.
“Three chain excavators at the landfill site in Sisdole are defunct,” said Sarita Rai, environment division chief of the City. “The old garbage first needs to be managed and the landfill site prepared to take in new garbage.”
“We have not started using Banchare Danda yet because we don’t want Sisdole problems to repeat there,” said Rai. “There has to be proper management of the site before we start using it so that we don’t run into problems with the locals later.”
The roads that lead to Sisdole get obstructed frequently, especially during the monsoon. The poor condition of the road leading to the landfill site does not allow smooth passage of garbage trucks causing traffic jams.
“The road is in a very sorry state and should be asphalted as soon as possible,” said Chandra Bahadur Balami, chair of Kakani Rural Municipality Ward 1. “Also, the City should now transfer the garbage to Banchare Danda; the locals can no longer tolerate the mess here.”
More than 200 families with 1,200 members who reside near the Sisdole site have been categorised as highly affected.
Meanwhile, Rai, the chief of the environment division of the City, said his office has been consulting with the stakeholders regarding the issue.
“I have the letter sent by the Urban Development Ministry. I am in a consultation within our department to resolve the issue soon,” said Rai.
Kathmandu Valley generates 1,200 tonnes of solid waste every day. Nearly 60 percent of it is generated by the Kathmandu metropolis itself.