Ghazipur landfill caves in at East Delhi: Two killed in mishap; AAP, BJP blame each other

Two people were killed after a portion of the Ghazipur landfill in East Delhi caved in on Friday afternoon, while several others are still feared trapped, media reports said. A team of 12 fire tenders, two ambulances, and the local police force have reached the spot and rescue operations are still underway.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia visited the site of the accident and blamed Municipal Corporation of Delhi's apathy. Kejriwal, said that he will try and put pressure on the MCD to look for alternatives for waste disposal and already over-stuffed landfills should not be used.

The Delhi Police confirmed that one male and a female have been killed in the incident. "Two people — Raj Kumari (32) and Abhishek (22) — were killed and five others were rescued," a senior police official said. The five who were rescued were identified as Karan, Pankaj, Amit, Deepak and Ayub Ansari.

 The Delhi Fire Service (DFS), which got a call about the accident around 2.45 pm, sent four-five JCB machines for rescue operations. An NDRF team comprising of 45 personnel was also rushed to the cave-in site and a team of divers have also been pressed into service.

ANI reported that four to five vehicles were also swept into the adjacent Kondli canal as the heap of garbage descended on the road. Two cars and a two-wheeler has been fished out of the water so far. The roads leading to the area are experiencing huge traffic jams. Routes around Madhu Vihar, Kadkadduma, and the road leading to Ghaziabad from the area should be avoided. The Delhi traffic police have also issued advisories, informing people that the traffic is being diverted from the area to speed up the rescue operations. 


According to a report in CNN-News 18, at least five people have been pulled out from the huge lump of garbage that fell on the road next to the over 30-years-old garbage dump. Eyewitness have said that at least four more people could be trapped under the mound of litter. However, the police is yet to ascertain the number of people involved in the tragedy. The initial reports suggest that the heavy rainfall over the past two days, could have caused the loosening of mounds of garbage. 



The landfill site falls under the jurisdiction of the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC). East Delhi mayor Neema Bhagat of thr BJP, when contacted, said a portion of the garbage mound collapsed because of the rains. "A portion of that (collapsed garbage mound) then fell into one of the canals close to it and the water splashed on to some moving vehicles throwing them into another flank of the canal," Bhagat claimed.

Meanwhile, politicking has already picked up after the incident, even as the rescue and search operations remain underway. The ruling Aam Aadmi Party has blamed the BJP-ruled Delhi Development Authority and MCD. The party alleged that the citizens of the area had been complaining about the landfill since a long time and it had reached its saturation point way back in 2002. AAP leaders also claimed that they had repeatedly brought up the matter with MCD and in the Delhi Assembly, but no action was taken.

"Visited Ghazipur site. It's man-made disaster. Criminal. Mountains of garbage. Why doesn't MCD use modern technology to manage solid waste?" Kejriwal said in a tweet.

Kejriwal, who visited the site, said the Delhi Pollution Control Committee had served notices to the municipal corporation about the disposal of garbage and the height of the landfill.
He said garbage was disposed of in a "faulty manner". "There are so many modern techniques available worldwide to dispose of garbage. I will speak to the Delhi L-G for putting pressure on the municipal corporation for safe garbage disposal," he said.

AAP MLA from Kondli, Manoj Kumar, also blamed the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC), saying the civic body did not pay attention to the increasing height of the dumped waste at the site due to which the pile collapsed.

"Had the MCD not let the height of the waste material increase above its optimum level, the incident would not have happened," Kumar said.

Meanwhile, Bhagat  blamed the AAP-ruled Delhi government for what she said was "poor maintenance" of the landfill spread over 70 acres.

North East Delhi MP and Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari sought a report from the EDMC mayor and asked the civic body to ensure proper relief for those injured. Tiwari conceded that the landfill needs to be shifted to a new locaton, however, he evaded any firm answers about fixing responsibility for the mishap. "No doubt it's serious concern, talked to L-G about shifting landfill. Also asked compensation for those who died," he said.

The Ghazipur landfill receives almost 2,800 metric tonnes of garbage generated in East Delhi, which is home to over 40 lakh people. It is the oldest of its kind in the national capital. It was started in 1984 and is spread over 29 acres.

According to officials, the permissible height for a garbage dump is 20 metres. However, the Ghazipur dump was 60 metres high - as tall as a 15-storey building, some estimated. It is among the four main garbage dumping spots in the national capital.

The enormous dump — estimated to be as high as a 15-storey building — looms like a dark mountain on the side of NH24, a busy highway that connects Delhi to Uttar Pradesh. Travellers and commuters can see dumpsters winding their way up to the landfill, where about 2,500 metric tonnes of garbage are dumped every day, with scavenging birds hovering over it.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Sep 01, 2017 22:23 PM

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