The National Green Tribunal today witnessed a war of words between the Delhi government and the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) over the recent fire that broke out at the Ghazipur landfill site here.
The blaze at Ghazipur landfill in east Delhi erupted on October 19 and 20 and was extinguished after hours of fire- fighting operations.
When a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar asked EDMC lawyer Balendu Shekhar about the fire incident and asked him to see a video of the blaze, he informed the tribunal that immediate action was taken when fire was noticed on October 19 at 2 pm and fire tenders were called instantly.
However, due to the lackadaisical approach of the fire department, the fire-tending vehicles reached the landfill site at 2:30 pm and the second extinguisher reached only by 6:00 pm, the EDMC lawyer said.
The counsel for the Delhi government, who also represents the fire department, alleged non-cooperation on the part of the municipal corporation and said it has not given space for fire tending vehicles to station permanently at the landfill site resulting in the delay.
The bench then asked the EDMC lawyer to produce proof of correspondence and letters exchanged between the municipal corporation and the fire department with regard to action taken on the fire incident.
The matter was listed for next hearing on October 27.
Irked at the approach of the authorities, the green panel had earlier directed the EDMC to immediately start the work of “segregation, compaction and bio-remediation of the municipal solid waste” with the help of the Delhi government.
It had directed the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to open tender for deciding on the agency to carry out the segregation of waste at the Ghazipur landfill site, subject to receiving sanction from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
“Immediately thereafter they should award the work and ensure that the operation or segregation at the site would start without any further delay. Looking at the severity of the problem arising out of massive municipal solid waste, we do hope that the ministry would act expeditiously,” it said.
On September 4, the NGT had come down heavily on the AAP government and the EDMC over the Ghazipur landfill collapse in which two persons were killed, saying “nothing can be more humiliating than people being killed under a garbage hill”.
A portion of the 45 m-high garbage dump in east Delhi’s Ghazipur collapsed on September 1 because of heavy rain, killing two people and pushing a car and three two wheelers off the road and into a canal.
( Source – PTI )