Delhi garbage crisis devolves as municipal corporations squabble, citizens cry 'not in our back yard'

As the standoff between the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) and citizens heightens, the situation is fast becoming a serious threat to the health of Delhi's citizens.

The EDMC was forced to stop collecting garbage after the Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal banned the Ghazipur landfill site from being used in the wake of a collapse that killed two people. Ghazipur had been used as a dumping ground since 1984. After the trifurcation of the MCDs, the ground was used to dump solid waste generated in East Delhi.

 Delhi garbage crisis devolves as municipal corporations squabble, citizens cry not in our back yard

Representational image. AFP

Worse, the corporation is facing protests from citizens and environmental groups in the two spots it plans to dump garbage: Rani Khera and the Yamuna floodplains.

“Our garbage trucks went to Rani Khera but locals wouldn't let us. Now we are at a loss," said EDMC mayor Neema Bhagat.

Dumping of solid waste has become a contentious issue between the EDMC and the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC): The new Rani Khera dumping ground falls under NDMC jurisdiction.

Jayendra Kumar Dabas, councillor, Rani Khera said the EDMC ought to be allotted a site within its own area. "If no such place is available, the new dumping ground should be at least four or five kilometres away from where people live," Dabas said.

Dabas, a BJP member in the NDMC general body, also met the Lieutenant Governor and NDMC mayor Preeti Agarwal. Dabas said he requested the governor to not allow the EDMC to use Rani Khera as a dumping ground.

“The Lieutenant Governor assured us that the ground will be used only for week as an interim arrangement. After that, it will be shifted to a new place,” he said.

But the people of Rani Khera village are adamant: They will not allow garbage to be dumped there even for a day.

"Lakhs of people live near Rani Khera," Dabas, who is front and centre of the protest, said. "Why would anyone expect them to sacrifice their health?"

Dabas said thousands of people have gathered in the Rani Khera area to stop the EDMC trucks from dumping garbage. "They are keeping vigil day and night," Dabas said.

Little wonder that a new site in the Yamuna floodplains was quickly suggested as a dumping spot to the EDMC. However, a source in the civic body said the EDMC never seriously considered that spot. "There would be protests against any use of Yamuna floodplains as dumping ground,” the source said.

Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan, an NGO working for protection of the Yamuna River, immediately wrote to the Lieutenant Governor after the plan went public.

“We are gravely alarmed at the efforts of the EDMC to revive its plans to raise a landfill and solid waste management complex spread over 150 acres in the Yamuna river bed / floodplain in east Delhi, to push through a thoroughly illegal and ill-planned move which has already been assessed and been rejected in the past by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Principal Committee as being not only in the teeth of the NGT judgment dated 13 January, 2015, but also against the provisions of the Solid Waste management Rules and the Ganga Authorities Notification,” the letter read.

In 2015, the NGT issued issued 28 directions for implementation of the project called, ‘Maily Se Nirmal Yamuna’ Revitalisation Project. Under these directions, the bench directed a fine of Rs 5,000 for anyone spotted littering and imposed a fine of Rs. 50,000 for throwing constructioin debris in the Yamuna.

The directions were issued to take stringent and effective steps, with a determined mind, to ensure that none fail in performing their respective functions, duties and obligations to achieve the ultimate goal of converting ‘Maily Yamuna’ into ‘Nirmal Yamuna’ under the project.

"The Delhi Development Authority allotted us another plot  in the Gonda-Gurjan area to use as dumping ground. We are still discussing the viability of the new site,” said Bhagat.

 

Updated Date: Sep 05, 2017 11:07:37 IST