A day after a massive fire broke out at the Bhalswa landfill, Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai on Wednesday blamed the corruption in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led municipal corporations for the blaze, adding that the saffron party should have used bulldozers to clear dump yards in the Capital.
“The increasing cases of fire in landfill sites are the result of increasing corruption in the BJP administered corporations. The negligence of the corporations from the last 15 years have resulted in these mountains of garbage created in Delhi. If the newly available techniques were adopted from time to time for its redressal, then today the people of Delhi would not be living life in this dust and smoke,” said Rai, adding that the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) will soon submit a report on the fire.
“They should have used the bulldozer to clear these mountains of garbage in their 15 years of rule,” said Rai, in a veiled dig at the demolition drives carried out by the civic bodies to clear encroachments.
The North MCD’s anti-encroachment demolition drive in north west Delhi’s Jahangirpuri on April 20 — four days after communal clashes hit the area — drew flak from the opposition parties, including AAP, who claimed that the action was taken without following due procedure.
AAP’s incharge of MCD affairs Durgesh Pathak said that around 14 landfill fires have been reported this year but the BJP has taken no action. “AAP demands an FIR for criminal negligence against the BJP. MCD’s incompetence is endangering the lives of Delhi residents. People living around landfills are suffocating as the fire still hasn’t been put out. Millions of tonnes of garbage is lying at the three landfills but BJP, in the name of management, is only committed to corruption,” Pathak said.
Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said AAP leaders indulge in petty politics whenever a fire breaks out at a landfill site. “Fires at landfill sites during heatwave months are normal. The problem of landfill sites has become acute as both the North and East corporation lack the funds required to end this problem, but the Arvind Kejriwal government, instead of extending financial assistance to the corporations, has always tried to bully them,” said Kapoor.
The fire broke out at the Bhalswa landfill at around 5.45 pm on Tuesday, following which 10 fire tenders were rushed to the spot. Over 24 hours later, the fire was yet to be fully doused, with smoke still emerging from the landfill.
This is fourth major fire to be reported from Delhi’s landfill sites in the last one month, with the three previous blazes being reported from east Delhi’s Ghazipur landfill.
Attributing fires to release of methane gas at landfills, Rai said it was hazardous to the environment too.