From The Telegraph

A garbage pile near the Mela Grounds in Kalimpong on Monday. Picture by Chinlop Fudong Lepcha

Kalimpong, March 18: The Kalimpong municipality has not collected garbage in the town for over 10 days, except for Saturday, as it is yet to find a suitable site to dump the town’s waste which was earlier dropped in the Teesta.

The local people had protested and forced the closure of the old civic dump yard at Bhalukhop in June 2008 after which the municipality had been dumping waste in the Teesta near Labarbote, ignoring protests from various quarters.

Once the NHPC’s Teesta low dam project Stage III started in Rambi, over 40 days back, which is about 10km downstream from Labarbote, garbage could no longer be dumped there as the water became stagnant in the upstream area.

The civic body then started dumping garbage at a place near Rambi on NH31A.

Kalimpong generates about four tonnes of garbage every day.

Municipality chairman L.B. Parihar said the town’s garbage problem would be solved soon as the approach road to a six-acre plot at Newargaon in Lower Bhalukhop that the municipality had acquired to set up a solid waste management plant was almost ready.

Parihar claimed the waste management plant was almost ready. “The garbage problem will be solved in a week’s time,” he said.

Even though work on setting up the plant had started about three years back, not much progress has been made because of frequent landslides in the area. A portion of the main road leading to the site was washed away in a landslide in the monsoons in 2011. The road is yet to be repaired and a new road leading to the site is nearing completion.

“If in all these years, the municipal authorities have been unable to find a permanent solution to the garbage problem, I doubt they would be able to do so in a week’s time. All this is very frustrating,” said a resident, who has to breathe the stench of the mounting garbage in front of his house.

Ratan Bahadur Tamang, a vegetable vendor in Haat Bazar, said customers have stopped coming to his shop because of the increasing pile of waste in front of his shop.

“My livelihood is under threat because of the garbage which is piling up everyday,” he said.