Landfill fire result of govt. negligence, says BJP; Rai seeks report

BJP criticises AAP govt. for missing deadline to clear garbage from site; MCD to launch probe as toxic smoke continues to emanate from landfill

Published - April 23, 2024 12:41 am IST - New Delhi

Smoke billows from Ghazipur Landfill , in New Delhi on Monday

Smoke billows from Ghazipur Landfill , in New Delhi on Monday | Photo Credit: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

The BJP on Monday accused the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government of “criminal negligence” as thick plumes of smoke rising from the Ghazipur landfill left nearby residents gasping for breath for more than 24 hours after a major fire broke out at the site.

The fire started around 5 p.m. on Sunday and could be controlled only by 11 a.m. on Monday when Delhi Fire Service chief Atul Garg confirmed that the flames had been put out.

The incident triggered a political slugfest, even as Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai asked his department officials to submit a detailed report about the incident by Wednesday. He also sought an action plan to prevent such events in future.

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) also announced an inquiry hours after Finance Minister Atishi said an investigation will be conducted to ascertain the cause of the fire.

The Delhi police launched a probe into the incident after it booked unknown persons under IPC Sections 278 (making atmosphere noxious to health) and 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others) for causing the fire.

‘Promise forgotten’

Meanwhile, Delhi BJP chief Virendra Sachdeva, along with the Leader of the Opposition in the MCD, Iqbal Singh, and party spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor visited the site.

Mr. Sachdeva told mediapersons that the existence of the landfill is an example of “criminal negligence” of the Arvind Kejriwal government, which had, ahead of the MCD election in 2022, promised to rid the city of garbage mounds by the end of 2023.

Mr. Sachdeva said most of the machines used to clear the garbage have been lying defunct for months now and that the government has not bothered to get them repaired.

“Everyone knows that various [poisonous] gases emanate from the landfill site. Even a small fire causes significant air pollution,” he said. “The garbage at the site will be removed within a year if the BJP comes to power in Delhi [in the 2025 Assembly poll],” he added.

Meanwhile, Mr. Rai, in an order, said such incidents had been reported in the past, too, and his department had issued several guidelines to prevent such incidents.

He asked officials to collect reports from all agencies concerned about compliance with the guidelines.

“All-round efforts should be made to control the fire to prevent further deterioration of air quality to safeguard people’s health,” he added.

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