Anakapalle Municipality Must Stop Illegal Dumping Of Garbage Outside Jurisdiction

The Human Rights Forum (HRF) demands that the Anakapalle Municipality immediately stop the illegal dumping of garbage at Achayyapeta village of Sundarayyapeta panchayat in Anakapalle mandal of Visakhapatnam district.

A two-member HRF team visited the area on Friday and perused the site and spoke with officials. We also gathered details from residents of several villages who are stiffly opposing the shifting of the compost yard site from Anakapalle to Achayyapeta. It was clear to us that the Municipality’s action is brazen illegality.  It is nothing short of illegal dumping of municipal waste on villagers in violation of the law and several norms and statutory obligations.

The Sundarayyapeta gram panchayat has not given consent for dumping the waste in its backyard. In fact, residents of Sundarayyapeta, Achayyapeta, Mondipalem, Venkupalem and Seetanagaram have been peacefully resisting the attempt to dump the garbage since several years. On Friday, a large contingent of police personnel moved in and beat them up and over a hundred villagers, including many women, have since been held in custody at the Anakapalle rural police station, Kasimkota as well as Chodavaram police stations.

Municipal dump trucks then quickly began shifting the garbage to the site near Achayyapeta with the Anakapalle Municipal Commissioner S Muralidhar Rao personally supervising the illegal dumping. When we asked him whether the requisite permission been obtained from the AP Pollution Control Board he replied in the negative saying that they had applied for the permission a ‘couple of days ago’ and are awaiting response from the APPCB. This is a shocking admission and proof enough that the garbage dumping at Achayyapeta does not meet statutory requirement.

Moreover, a small portion of the survey no. 511 where the garbage site is located near Achayyapeta is being cultivated by D patta holders, bonafide sivaayizamadars. No notice was given them nor was the D patta extent resumed by the government before the revenue handed 22.28 acres in the same survey number to the Anakapalle Municipality. This renders the process infructuous.

The District Water Management Authority (DWMA) has constructed three check-dams which are located right in the midst of the dump-yard site. When asked about this, the Municipal Commissioner said they would construct walls so as to ensure that the check-dams would not be affected. This is a laughable claim.

Importantly, a division bench of the AP High Court in an important order in July last year laid down that municipalities cannot shift garbage yards outside their Municipal jurisdiction. It also held that the Collector or Chief Commissioner of Land Acquisition cannot allot land for municipal dumping in or near villages located outside the municipal limits. The AP High Court on 5-7-2012 in WP no.16701/2007, 32702/2010 and 1635 and 34229/2011 observed:

A municipality by reason of Section 163 of the Municipalities Act, 1965 and a municipal corporation by reason of Section 480 read with Sections 481 and 482 of the GHMC Act, 1955 as made applicable to other corporations are barred from establishing municipal waste processing and disposal (WPD) facility outside their jurisdictional territory. They can only do so within their territorial limits over which they exercise the powers vested in them under relevant Acts.”

The principle that municipalities must not dump their solid wastes outside their respective purviews is a sound one. Local bodies must collect waste, sort, segregate, transport and then dispose it scientifically in a sanitary landfill. This must be done after duly complying with environmental standards and safeguards including a proper EIA study and obtaining environmental clearance.

Instead of abiding by norms, the Anakapalle Municipality has resorted to open dumping of garbage from Friday outside its municipal limits and in a place located not even two furlongs away from the Achayyapeta habitation including the mandal parishad school and anganwadi centre.

HRF urges the District Collector to intervene immediately, visit the site, interact with local villagers opposing the shifting of the garbage dump and personally examine all aspects of the issue and render justice. Criminal cases against the villagers must be dropped.

VS Krishna
HRF State general secretary


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