Land woes hit PMC's animal incinerator project

The state's town planning department has dealt a blow to the Pune Municipal Corporation's animal incinerator project in Mundhwa, denying it permission to set up the plant, as the proposed site comes under the river regulation zone (RRZ).

PCMCs garbage depo
Raising a stink: With PMC’s carcass utilisation plant at Uruli Devachi being shut, the civic body is currently disposing of dead animals at PCMC’s garbage depot. Pic/Mohan Patil

The town planning officials has directed the civic body to find an alternate location for this long-pending project, as PMC’s proposed site in Mundhwa is 300 metres from the Mutha riverside. As per the norms, the site should be at least 1km away from a river.

As a result, with no other site available currently, the civic body will continue to dispose off carcasses at the garbage depot located in the adjoining Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC).

Dr S T Pardeshi, acting health chief of PMC, said, “The letter sent by the town planning department asked us to find an alternate location, making it clear that we cannot go ahead with setting up the incinerator plant at the proposed site, as it comes under the RRZ. We will soon initiate a process to find another site.”

To operate the incinerator, the PMC had to first seek licence from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), which is mandatory for such projects. MPCB, however, raised objections under the RRZ and sent the file to the state environment department, as the location of the project is 300 metres from the riverside.

On February 5, the environment secretary forwarded the file to the town planning department, which comes under the chief minister’s jurisdiction.

But, with the latest development, the fate of he project hangs in the balance.

“The new incinerator can dispose of two tonnes of carcasses in a day. This will meet the current demand. So, starting this new project on priority basis is the need of the hour. But since the state government has not given us the green signal, it’s difficult to predict how long it will take to start the already delayed project,” said a top PMC official, on condition of anonymity.

Gathering dust

In 2012, the PMC had procured a high-tech incinerator worth R3.5 crore from a UK-based firm after identifying a barren 10-guntha land in Mundhwa for the project. Currently, the machinery is lying idle. mid-day, on March 14 and 15, had published reports highlighting the sorry state of PMC’s dead animal disposal system. With the only carcass incinerator situated in Uruli Devachi garbage depot shut for the last six months now, their alternative plan to dispose of dead animals seems to have hit a roadblock.

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