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Bhagtanwala Solid Waste Management Plant in Amritsar, Punjab, India


Municipal Corporation, of Amritsar had decided in December 2014 to start a modern Solid Waste Management Plant (SWMP) at the existing site of Bhagtanwala, Amritsar, Punjab. The proposed facility will be designed to cater the need of eight municipal bodies including Amritsar and seven others. The residents living in the nearby areas have strongly opposed the move. Even before the decision has been taken to modernize the facility, they staged a protest for the existing dump yard [1]. It is observed that the dumping ground is the source of many diseases in the area [6]. The residents afraid that if the proposed facility starts its operation, it will lead to health problems to about 50,000 people living in the locality. Also, according to the ‘Municipal Solid Waste Act’ a solid waste processing plant in a close vicinity of densely populated area is not permitted [1]. Beside this, the area is very close to a grain market and famous all over the country for wheat trading [1].Also, the famous Golden Temple is not very far from the site. The protestors said that the area is thickly populated and the municipality has informed the government and the high court by declaring Bhagtanwala as a village [1].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Bhagtanwala Solid Waste Management Plant in Amritsar, Punjab, India
State or province:Punjab
Location of conflict:City-Roop Nagar; Amritsar
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Waste Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Specific commodities:Domestic municipal waste
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The proposed site is occupying about 10 hectors. The new proposal to revive the site involves development of existing dump site into an “Integrated Municipal Solid Waste Management Facility”. After the site constructed it will be able to handle about 650 Tons/day of Municipal Solid Waste. The facility will be consisting of Engineered Sanitary Landfill Facility @ 130 TPD, Compost plant @ 350 TPD, RDF plant @ 250 TPD and Recycling unit @ 50TPD. The site will be able to process garbage from 8 urban local bodies. The site has got environmental clearance from state level environment impact assessment authority of Punjab [2].

Project area:10
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:50,000-60,000
Start of the conflict:2014
Company names or state enterprises:Municipal Corporation Amritsar from India - Executor
Relevant government actors:Punjab Pollution Control Board
Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India
State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority Punjab
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee
Amritsar Vikas Manch
Local Residents
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Neighbours/citizens/communities
Forms of mobilization:Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Soil contamination, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Other Environmental impactsThe famous Sikh Shrine the "Golden Temple" is very close to the site.
Health ImpactsVisible: Other Health impacts
Other Health impactsA team of doctors examined more than 400 patients in November 2014 and found that the condition of the area is severing for normal life. They also fund patients suffering from bronchial ailments and allergic bronchitis due to the pollutants emanating from the dump yard.
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Project temporarily suspended
Proposal and development of alternatives:The residents unanimously demanded the site of garbage dumping and solid waste management plant should be shifted from their area. Municipality officials said that this could be done through the discussion and dialogues with the people of the locality [3].
After their protest, the residents of localities near Bhagtanwala garbage dump have succeeded partially. The dumping of garbage was stopped and five alternative waste disposal sites have been identified. However they will continue their movements until a park comes up on the place [4].
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The 27th report, the parliamentary committee on urban development has recommended to close all waste plants in residential areas throughout the country. It was observed that the hazardous emission from the municipal incinerators cause serious health problems to people living not only near them but even those living thousands of kilometers away from the source [5]. A team of doctors examined more than 400 patients in November 2014 and found that the condition of the area is severing for normal life. They also fund patients suffering from bronchial ailments and allergic bronchitis due to the pollutants emanating from the dump yard. Above all, the dump yard is only 1800 meter away from the Golden temple and government is going to establish solid waste plant here in violation of important recommendation [5]. So people of the locality wanted immediate closure of the site[6].
On the other hand, the municipality authorities said that the site was finalized by the government, the high court and the Pollution Control Board. If the government allocate different land municipality could shift the plant with no objection [1].
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules
[click to view]

[1] Bhagtanwala residents stage protest
[click to view]

[2] State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority Punjab
[click to view]

[3] CPS Sidhu visits Bhagtanwala site
[click to view]

[4] PPCC chief visits Bhagtanwala garbage dump
[click to view]

[5] Amritsar Vikas Manch demands to shift all dump yards including Bhagtanwala dump
[click to view]

[6] Bhagtanwala Dump: Doctors claim smoke from dump site causing ailments
[click to view]

[7] Bhagtanwala residents look for legal remedies against Municipal Corporation
[click to view]

Bhagtanwala residents protest MC’s decision to dump garbage
[click to view]

Bhagtanwala Residents Protest as MC Finalises Waste Plant Site
[click to view]

Filth conditions continue to mar Bhagtanwala area
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Swapan Kumar Patra
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:1782
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