The Division Bench of High Court of Meghalaya on Friday emphasized on cooperation all round to ensure a reasonable solution to the garbage issue plaguing Jowai Town for the past four months.
This was observed by the Court during the trial public interest litigation filed by the Synjuk Ki Waheh Chnong Jowai against the State of Meghalaya & others where the State government informed the Court that it has provided a temporary site for the immediate dumping of garbage. However, the Jowai Municipal Board submits that objections by headmen of the local villages near the permanent site have prevented quicker removal of the garbage from Jowai town.
The State Government informed that the market area at Iawmusiang has been cleared and the Municipal Board says that the garbage is no longer on the streets and several lots have been loaded on vehicles and are being taken in turn to the temporary dumping site. The Municipal Board apprised that several of the vehicles carrying garbage are parked beyond the city limits upon being completely covered to ensure that there is no spillage or the rain-water does not get into the garbage.
Both the State Government and the Municipal Board asserted that steps have been taken to ensure removal of garbage to the temporary site while awaiting for the objections to be resolved for a long-term solution. The Municipal Board informed that the Health Department of the State has been roped in to ensure that there is no spread of disease from the collected garbage, whether those lying in the streets or those packed in the vehicles.
There has to be cooperation all round 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.
The Court hoped that 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.