Irate locals obstruct garbage vehicles at Sisdol landfill site

Kathmandu, June 30

Piles of garbage have once again started accumulating on the streets of Kathmandu as frustrated locals residing around Sisdol landfill site at Okharpauwa of Nuwakot district have been obstructing the movement of waste carrying vehicles to the site for more than a week.

The Sisdol landfill site was leased by the government 14 years ago, on June 2005. The government had signed a two years’ contract with the locals as part of temporary solution to the waste management of Kathmandu valley. Locals, who now feel betrayed by the government, have come forward with a new demand that it should legally acquire their land.

Locals have said that the original landfill site proposed in the area was of around 600 square metres. “The area grew larger and larger with each passing year, so the government started acquiring public and guthi land to address the ever growing waste management problem,” said Sameer Balami, a local activist. “With this, the locals were also compelled to lease their land to the government after their land was surrounded by the mountain of garbage.”

Balami said, “The landfill site has covered additional two kilometres of the land.”

The locals on realising that they can no longer utilise their land have demanded the government to buy their land as per the market price.

They clashed with the police deployed from Metropolitan Police Range, Kathmandu, yesterday as they halted vehicular movement to the landfill site. Police had to baton charge and fire tear gas to disperse the locals.

Today, dozens of locals of Sisdol met Bidhya Sundar Shakya, mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City, to discuss their problem. Agitated locals warned the mayor that they will continue with the obstruction of the vehicles carrying waste to the dumping site if their demands were not fulfilled.

Locals have been demanding that the government needed to buy 42 to 50 ropany of private land, rendered useless by the dumping site. These land belongs to around 150 households.

“We do not care if the government manages the valley’s waste in Tudhikhel or Singhadurbar.

But we won’t allow it to dispose the waste in our land until the government buys it,” said Gyanendra Prakash Gajurel, coordinator of the talks team formed by the locals. Responding to their concern the mayor said, “I will try my best to address yours demand soon.”

Following talks with the mayor, the locals have agreed to halt their protest for 15 days to let the local body carry out a study for acquiring the land. “If the government fails to address our demand within 15 days, we will be compelled to halt the vehicular moment completely,” locals warned.

It is estimated that KMC and various private organisations transport around 1,000 tonnes of garbage to the Sisdol site each day. KMC alone generates 30 per cent of the waste.

The government had bought 792 ropani land, two kilometres south from the existing Sisdol landfill site to build a permanent landfill site in 2007. Infrastructure work at the new site has been gaining momentum in the past few months.