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| Last Updated:: 30/12/2014

Reserve forest turned into dumping ground in Haridwar

DEHRADUN: The Shyampur range of the Haridwar forest division, which should ideally be conserved, has turned into a dumping ground. Garbage from the entire Haridwar town is dumped here. Shockingly, this has been going on since the past two decades and nobody has paid attention towards it. 

Despite the fact that untreated waste is hazardous for wild animals, neither the forest department and nor the Haridwar Municipal Corporation has taken any action in this regard. The waste also pollutes the Ganges during the Monsoons as it drains down into the river. A number of temples are situated in the vicinity and even the ropeway for the renowned Chandimandir starts from here. 

S S Sharma, principal chief conservator of forests, expressed ignorance on the issue and assured of holding an inquiry into the matter. D V S Khati, chief wildlife warden, too talked of taking action. 

Gauri Maulkehi, member secretary of non-profit organization People For Animals, said, "Throwing garbage in a reserve forest is illegal as per Section 9 of the Wildlife Protection Act. The heap is spread over more than three km. The stench is unbearable. There is no arrangement of an incinerator or segregation of bio-degradable waste from the non-biodegradable one. The garbage includes medical and industrial waste and is full of chemical and sharp objects. The wild animals feed on such stuff all the time. About a couple of years ago, two elephants had died while one was operated upon for abdomen infection. Many animals and birds die, but no one takes notice. Both the forest as well as wildlife officials must take immediate action in this regard." 

According to former ranger Ghananand Uniyal, an arrangement for dumping of garbage was made more than two decades ago for the Kumbh. The garbage was supposed to be thrown on some 10 bighas of land which were transferred to the irrigation department. However, the process of dumping continued unabated over the years. Now, it has spread over to 200 bighas, reducing the green and clean environment of the forest to a dump yard. The litter has spread from the Haridwar forest division to the boundary of Rajaji National Park. Uniyal further added that despite umpteen notices issued by the forest department, no concrete action has been taken by the municipal corporation. 

Haridwar mayor Manoj Garg too acknowledged the problem, but did not give any satisfactory solution in. "I visited the garbage site at Shyampur range and felt concerned for the wild animals. We are trying to have a solid waste centre in Haridwar town. That will take a long time. Meanwhile, we have looked at an alternative site for dumping waste, but that will not completely serve our purpose," he said.