Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai on Thursday said the Delhi government had imposed a fine of ₹50 lakh on the north corporation for negligence, which led to the fire at the Bhalswa landfill site on Tuesday evening.
Rai said the orders were issued after a detailed report had been prepared by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) on the incident, with directions also given to the corporation to have a permanent water tanker stationed at the landfill site.
“The ministry has issued orders to construct peripheral roads for easy transportation at the landfill sites so that quick actions may be taken at the time of such events,” Rai said, and added that orders have been issued to the DPCC to levy the fine.
North Delhi Municipal Corporation standing committee chairman Jogi Ram Jain said that he was not aware of the government order. “AAP can do anything. The Delhi government owes us thousands of crores in funds. They can deduct the amount from these pending funds. How are fines going to help the situation?” he added.
Meanwhile, the Aam Aadmi Party accused the BJP-ruled civic body of siphoning off funds meant for managing the landfill site, and said that it will register an FIR against the corporation officials.
“Local residents are choking on the toxic smoke emanated by the burning waste. The AAP will file an FIR against the BJP. We will go to the court if needed. All that the BJP has given to the people of Delhi as a result of its flagrant corruption and misgovernance is this Bhalswa landfill. There is an entire residential colony in close proximity of this landfill, including a school, and the entire area is now engulfed in smoke,” Durgesh Pathak, AAP’s incharge of MCD affairs, said at a press conference.
Pathak visited the area with a group of AAP workers on Thursday, and said that the BJP-led MCD has simply left the people of Delhi to suffer and succumb to the fumes and has put their lives in grave danger.
“Day-in day-out, the BJP leaders are busy with corruption and bribery, dedicated to the sole aim of filling their pockets. They have squandered all the funds which were allocated for waste management at this landfill and its disposal process, causing its height to only rise further and making it susceptible to catching fire. The situation is so dire that all we can see around is smoke and fumes,” claimed Pathak.
Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor termed Pathak’s visit to the area as “political tourism”.
“It is a blatant lie that the Delhi government issued funds for addressing the problem of landfill sites. The Delhi government did not release a penny for the purpose,” said Kapoor.