Not all Delhiites are happy with the ongoing cleanliness drive for the Commonwealth Games and their grouse is not without reason.
The debris being removed from the city is being dumped in residential areas on the outskirts. The reason being their proximity to the official recycling plant at Burari, where the construction debris of Games sites is supposed to be dumped.
Mounds of construction waste in the area are high enough to hide the houses in Burari and its surrounding areas. And thanks to frequent rains, these sites have also become breeding grounds for dengue-causing mosquitoes.
"They are cleaning up rest of the city but have made our areas a dumping yard. We have complained a number of times but nothing has been done so far. Is it our fault that we happen to live in an area which has no link to the Games?" said Ram Kewal, a resident of Majlis Park in Northwest Delhi.
Areas such as Adarsh Nagar, Majlis Park, Adarsh Nagar Extension, Jehangirpuri and Rohini have been facing this problem for the past few months but till date no action has been taken by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). "The situation has worsened in the past few months as they have been dumping truck loads of debris every hour. Incessant rains have turned it into slush," said Kaalu Pradhan, a resident of Moolchand Colony in Adarsh Nagar.
The MCD on the other hand claims that it is the private contractors who are dumping construction waste illegally in the residential areas at night. "A number of private contractors are dumping construction waste at night to suit their convenience. Apparently there is a lot of pressure to remove construction waste and they are taking the easy way out. We are making all efforts to dump construction waste at the Burari plant where it is recycled," said Deep Mathur, director press and information, the MCD.
However, some of the MCD officials admitted to dumping debris outside the plant, but only because they had not expected so much of construction waste to come to the plant.
"The construction work has been carried out for a much longer period than expected. As a result, the waste generated has also increased. Many places have been dug up several times which have also increased the quantum of waste. The plant has a certain capacity of processing waste everyday and the amount we have currently exceed that," said a senior MCD official. He said for the time being the civic agency had started dumping the waste outside the boundary wall of the plant.
Considering only construction waste can be recycled loose soil in the plant mud and soil are being dumped in low lying areas.
The dumping site at Burari is overflowing with more than 1.5 lakh tonne of garbage already dumped there and, according to the MCD, once the entire Games-related construction has been completed, another over 1.5 lakh metric tonne of waste will be dumped at the processing plant.
Also, as the Burari plant is filled to its capacity, the civic agency is now considering dumping debris at its Narela-Bawana site.
"Last-minute construction work in the city has generated a large amount of waste. As the Burari site is full now we have made arrangements at another site," added the official.
Posh areas not spared either
Apart from Burari, it seems many other areas in Delhi have also been converted into a dumping zones. Indiscriminate and illegal dumping has become a common sight at Janpath lane as well.
The lane behind the New Delhi Municipal Council's (NDMC) office on Parliament Street has stacks of construction waste dumped on the pavements.
Since it is a back alley, not frequented by many, the illegal dumping has managed to go unnoticed for a long time.
Heaps of debris have also spilled over to the adjacent Tolstoy Marg.
Also, construction waste has still not been cleared from many of the roads such as Aurobindo Marg, Green Park and Hauz Khas.
At Aurobindo Marg, the streetscaping work is still in its initial stage and debris is still lying around.
Illegal dumping of construction waste can also be seen at Link Road, though officials of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) claim that it is the work of private contractors.
"The area is very secluded and many construction companies dump the waste during night," said a senior MCD official.
The debris should ideally be dumped at one of the 168 designated dumping sites from where it is taken to a recycling plant in Burari.
Hiding debris in green cover
The streetscaping work on the Sardar Patel Marg has left behind an eyesore, though the civic agencies have done well to hide it.
The debris collected after digging the pavements has been dumped just across the fence near them, flouting all rules. The debris is hidden behind trees in the Ridge area at many points.
It seems not many are of the designated dumping sites. For instance, last month, labourers at S P Marg were busy digging and dumping debris behind the fence on the pavement.
Three labourers working at the site for eight months did not know that dumping debris in the ridge area behind the pavement on the SP Marg was illegal. "We have been dumping the debris here for the last few months. We don't know anything about it being illegal. No one told us anything," said Naresh Mukhia, a labourer.
The dumping has been hidden by weeds and wild grass that grew after incessant rains in last one month.
On the other hand, officials claim ignorance about the illegal dumping. "We will have to find out who has dumped the debris at these sites. It will be removed," said Anand Tiwari, spokesperson, New Delhi Municipal Council.