The Clean Kasol campaign was a success then. But does that implies a garbage disposal solution is in place and the problem has been resolved forever?
Coming back to home, I published the event report at my personal blog which was well received. However, a long-term solution was what I was thinking of.
On the very first night at Kasol when we learnt that the Gram Pradhan was absconding, I wrote an email to Director GHNP (Great Himalayan National Park) about our event and sought help. I was indeed surprised to receive a response in couple of days (on 23rd June 2014) that now it was too late for them to do anything to support us and he couldn’t access his mails since he was on leave.
I replied back that we had carried out our event which was a success, but learnt from locals that garbage disposal was a problem there, and if there was anything he could do to get it resolved. The Director, GHNP did responded that though garbage disposal is not under his work-area, still he can facilitate allocation of land for garbage dumping area, should the authorities decide to do something about it.
I was elated at getting a good response from someone who promised to help, but didn’t knew whom to approach further.
Tarun Goel (who writes at LoOp-WhOlE) couldn’t join us during the event due to some urgent work, but he then suggested to contact various ministers and log a complaint through the HP Grievance Readdressal portal – eSamadhan.
So while I shot various emails everywhere, I logged on to the eSamadhan portal and filed a complaint vide application Number (HPSPCB/201434) on 30th of June 2014. Now the thing with eSamadhan is that the respective department/officer gets 30 days to complete action and file a reply to dispose the grievance, else it gets auto-escalated to higher authorities. And so, duly in timelines, on 30th of July, I received a mail that the application has been disposed off.
I logged on the eSamadhan portal the next day and was surprised to find out that Assistant Environmental Engineer, Kullu, Regional Office, Kullu, (HPSPCB) had disposed off the application, the category for which was changed from “Grievance” to “Demand” with the following comments:
This office is doing its best and it is being ensured that hotelas (sic) are disposing their waste properly.
Everyone can track the status of the application using the application Number (HPSPCB/201434) by logging at http://admis.hp.nic.in/esamadhan/Citizen/ViewGrievanceStatus.aspx
Copy of the same is below:
That was outrageous! Bullshit! Proper disposal is being done? We have seen everything from our own eyes! And then Vibhu, who happened to visit Kasol in July, reported that the situation has again worsened with garbage being thrown everywhere again! Obviously, the “properly” is not the way what we define as proper. Probably the standards differ [icon icon=icon-smile size=14px color=#000 ]
I’ve logged another complaint, now in a bit terse tone, referencing the old complaint and highlighting the fact of difference in opinion in defining the word “proper”. Of course pics posted by Vibhu in WhatsApp group have helped in phrasing the response.
This is with reference to the erstwhile application: HPSPCB/201434
The application was disposed with comments by Assitant Environmental Engineer, Kulllu, Regional Office, Kullu that “This office is doing its best and it is being ensured that hotelas are disposing their waste properly.”
Now, I have been to Kasol again and obviously, your best is not the best or even better. The situation has fallen back to the same. Stating that hotels are disposing their waste properly is a vague statement. Can someone define what is the meaning of “proper”? Does dumping the waste in the riverbed comes under proper disposal?
I’m sorry to state, but this is not a solution, rather an excuse. I have before, after and thereafter pictures taken from Kasol to prove my point. In fact, if you go towards Chalal village and look towards Kasol, the “Proper” garbage disposal facility is for everyone to see.
Can I request you to pay some serious attention to this matter? If you need space at Kasol, I’ve been assured by Director, GHNP that space can be made available. let me know if you need help in this regard and I’ll connect both of you.
But please! For the sake of the environment, the river and the mountains, do not dispose off the application without a proper garbage disposal mechanism in place. Else, Himachal would become another Uttarakhand and you know what havoc nature has created there.
The new complaint number is HPSPCB/201445 and the URL to check updates remain the same – http://admis.hp.nic.in/esamadhan/Citizen/ViewGrievanceStatus.aspx
Here’s a copy of the new complaint (this hasn’t been disposed off yet, even after full year!)
Meanwhile, I had been writing to all and sundry including:
- Director, Himachal Ecotourism
- Addl. Chief Secretary, Panchayati Raj
- Director, Panchayati Raj
- Director, HPTDC
- Principal Secretary, Dept of Env, Science and Tech
- Forest Minister
- Rural Development Minister
- Transport Minister, and
- Chief Minister
Don’t know what hit the bull’s eye – whether it was various mails or the auto-escalation of the e-Samadhan or a self-cognizance, but in February 2015, National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed to provide a complete and comprehensive plan of prevention and control of pollution of environment and damage to ecology owing to tourism in the area leading from Bhuntar to Manikaran. A team had visited the area and identified a site for developing a plant for solid waste management, and options to set up sewerage treatment plants in the area were also worked out.
Here’s a news article confirming the same, published in The Tribune on 12th Feb 2015
Some progress at last!! 🙂
P.S.: Haven’t given up on this and still following it up by all means. Will keep this updated with latest updates.