Guwahati, Aug 8: Movement of trains was affected on the outskirts of the city for over two hours on Sunday as a group of people blocked railway tracks to protest against garbage disposal at a ground in Chandrapur area, an official said.
The agitation was carried out under the banner of 'Dumping Ground Birodhi Manch' at Thakurkuchi Station, a Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) spokesperson said. Around 250 people gathered at the spot for the 'rail roko' agitation. Four trains had to be controlled at different locations due to the protest, he said. The train services resumed after the blockade was cleared at 8.10 am, the NFR official said. A local student leader, who was among the agitators, said it was a part of the protest programmes undertaken by the people of Chandrapur as the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) started waste dumping in the area from June 28.
Tutumani Kalita, general secretary of the Kamrup Metropolitan district committee of All Assam Students Union (AASU), claimed that Sunday's protest was carried out by three groups of agitators, who blocked the railway tracks twice at Thakurkuchi Railway Station and once at Digaru Station. We will continue our agitation till the dumping ground is shifted out of here, the AASU leader said. Local people, supported by the AASU and other organisations, have been protesting since the starting of waste dumping at Chandrapur.
The main opposition Congress also joined the protest. The GMC had changed its dumping ground from Boragaon and waste is being disposed of on the premises of old Chandrapur thermal power station of APGCL. The National Green Tribunal had directed the state government in 2018 to shift the dumping ground from Boragaon to prevent pollution in the adjoining Deepor Beel. The government had identified four sites for the purpose the 40-bigha plot of Assam Power Generation Corporation Ltd at Chandrapur, 27-bigha land covered under Sonapur revenue circle, 20-bigha ground at Odalbakra and another at Borpathar.
More than 500 tonne of waste is generated daily in the city. The GMC has already signed a memorandum of understanding with APGCL for a waste to energy project at the Chandrapur site, but the detailed report is yet to be finalized. The local people and several organisations claimed that disposal of garbage without any scientific process to manage the waste will have an adverse environmental impact and cause public health hazards.
The GMC has been dumping garbage at the new site with a security escort to disposal vehicles.