RUPANDEHI, Aug 7: With opinions divided regarding the initiation of Bhairahawa Waste Management Project, the plan to establish a waste management centre in the district remains uncertain.
On April 18, 2016, Siddhartha Municipality had signed a loan agreement with Asian Development Bank (ADB) to construct a recycling plant in Patkhauli of Omsatiya Rural Municipality under the Integrated Urban Settlement Development Project. However, Patkhauli locals protested against the plan due to which the project has been delayed.
As a result, the original goal to complete the construction of the plant by September 26, 2017 has not been achieved.
Locals of Omsatiya and Dhakdhahi have formed a struggle committee against the disposal of garbage from Bhairahawa in their region. Under the chairmanship of Bidhya Yadav, the struggle committee has been opposing a waste recycling center.
“Omsatiyamai's temple stands right next to the location of proposed plant. There is a school nearby as well,” Yadav said, adding, “Creating a waste management site next to a settlement is unacceptable.”
Shailendra Shrestha, an official at the Integrated Urban Development Project, says that the locals and politicians have mistaken the waste recycling centre for a landfill site.
Even after repeated talks between the two sides, consensus has eluded so far. Now even the political parties are divided on the issue. There are speculations that the construction of the plant might never materialize. Leaders of Nepali Congress (NC), Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN) and Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) currently stand against the establishment of the waste recycling center.
After the protests halted the construction process, the initial deadline had been extended by a year. The extended deadline expires this December. With obstructions from the local level, there is high possibility that the project is bound to fail. Siddhartha Municipality had bought six bigahs of land for around Rs 10 million in Patkhauli Gaurigaun of Omsatiya Rural Municipality-5 ahead of the formation of the local government.
The magnitude of the protest is so high that it now hinders the initiation of the construction process itself. Even political parties have stated that they will support the local struggle committee. Former state minister and NC district representative Abdul Rajjak, parliamentarian Santosh Pande of FSFN, RPP leader Tahir Oli along with other politicians stand by the locals in this issue.
Shailendra Shrestha, an official at the Integrated Urban Development Project, says that the project is on the verge of failure because the locals have failed to understand the practicality of the project. He says that the locals and politicians have mistaken the waste recycling centre for a landfill site because of which the construction process has faced hurdles.
According to Shrestha, the waste recycling centre will in no way affect the environment and wildlife in the region. Shrestha wishes to continue with the project which hopes to manage waste in Omsatiya and Rohin Rural Municipality as well.
Because of rapid population growth and urbanization, waste products have increases tremendously in Bhairahawa. In Bhairahawa itself, twenty-five tons of waste is produced on a daily basis.
Asian Development Bank had come up with many plans for the development of Rupandehi. Construction of an international airport in Bhairahawa, a six-lane highway, Drinking Water Project in Butwal are some of the projects. After the waste recycling centre faced heavy protests, plans for Drinking Water Project in Butwal now faces uncertainty.