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Bhalswa landfill fire: AAP mulls FIR against North & East MCDs

The Delhi government may file FIR against the North and East civic bodies for garbage burning at the Ghazipur and Bhalswa landfill sites amid concerns that the toxic fumes may offset any gains from the odd-even scheme.

East Delhi Municipal Corporation and North Delhi Municipal Corporation had been penalised by the 

Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) in February over fire at the landfill sites, which the Corporations have refused to pay.

The DPCC in its notice to the MCDs, dated February 11, had slapped a fine of Rs 5,000 per day saying burning can occur only if there is an 

ignition initially provided “deliberately or negligently” by some one.

Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain visited the Bhalswa site on Thursday, where simmering fire have been reported for over a week now, and said that he has instructed the DPCC to file an FIR and impose fresh penalties on the MCDs.

“From now onward, 15 fire tenders will be deployed round-the-clock at the Bhalswa site,” Hussain tweeted.

The city produces a staggering 8360 MTD (Metric Tonnes Daily) waste but the existing capacity of its all three landfill sites stands at 4660 MTD, all of which are operating beyond their saturation point, the Economic Survey report by the Delhi government had pointed out. Bhalswa landfill site was commissioned in the year 1994, Ghazipur in 1984 and Okhla in 1996 and none of them are designed as per the Municipal Solid Waste Rules of 2000. 

Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai alleged: “The Investigation Committee has been set up under senior environment officer Kuland Joshi, who would submit a report in three days,” said Rai.

AAP’s Delhi secretary Saurabh Bharadwaj accused the BJP-controlled civic body of not taking adequate steps to douse the fire at Bhalswa landfill site. “The landfill sites are under the control of the BJP controlled MCDs. We think that the fire was triggered with an intention to fail the odd-even scheme. They are aware that if the odd-even scheme fail, it will reflect badly on the Delhi government.  

“There have been fires occurring at the landfill sites of Delhi but today’s one is bigger than normal ones,” Bharadwaj said.

He said the National Green Tribunal and the DPCB had earlier sent notices to the civic bodies for violations and not adhering to procedures in disposing the garbage.

On the other hand, the Mayors of BJP-ruled North MCD and EDMC claimed that the fires at the landfill sites were due to natural emission of methane emitted by garbage lying there. 

“Landfill fire is a natural phenomenon and it is faced not only by India but also by developed countries. At Bhalswa landfill site also, fire is a usual occurrence,” North MCD Mayor Ravinder Gupta said.
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