RAWALPINDI, Jan 27: The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has refused to grant permission to the Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) for the development of a landfill site near the new airport at Fatehjhang.
A senior official of the RCB told Dawn that they were going to purchase a piece of180 kanals at Chakri Road for the new landfill site and had sought permission from the Ministry of Defence.
The ministry referred the matter to the military finance department which asked the RCB to get a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the Civil Aviation Authority before procuring the land because the area was located just nine kilometres from the under-construction New Benazir Bhutto International Airport.
On January 24, the Civil Aviation Authority refused to allow the RCB to establish the landfill site at Chakri Road and said: “The presence of birds near the landfill site will affect the air traffic.”
According to the plan, the Rawalpindi Cantonment Board wanted to shift the landfill site from Dhoke Gujran near Misrial Road to Chakri Road after the residents of the adjoining areas and the Punjab Environment Protection Agency (Punjab-Epa) raised objection over the dumping of garbage there.
The provincial environment watchdog in its report to the environment tribunal in February 2011 said the RCB had put the health of 50,000 inhabitants of the area in a danger by dumping garbage in the open.
Upon this, the RCB started planning to shift the landfill site to a new place, and develop a housing scheme at the old landfill site measuring 360 kanals.
When contacted, Rana Manzoor Ahmed Khan, the Rawalpindi Cantonment Board cantonment executive officer, admitted that the CAA had rejected the request of the civic agency for an no-objection certificate, terming the landfill site dangerous for the air traffic.
“After the rejection of the request, the RCB is planning to procure land at Adiala Road. But the proposed site near Adiala Jail is 22 kilometres away from Saddar and shifting of solid waste there from the residential areas will increase our fuel budget,” he added.
He said work on the project to convert the Dhoke Gujran landfill site into a housing scheme would be launched after the site is shifted to a new place.
In reply to a question, the RCB official said their housing scheme at Chakra was meant for low-paid employees of the ministry of defence.
However, the Dhoke Gujran would be the first housing scheme to be launched by the Rawalpindi Cantonment Board for the citizens, he added.