Kamlesh Rawat (25) awoke to a deafening blast at Phirni Road’s scrap segregation facility around 2 am on Sunday morning.
“There was nothing except a huge wall of fire as far as I could see,” he recalled. “But suddenly, I saw two bikes – the four men riding them wearing helmets, rushing away at full speed.”
An hour after Kamlesh and his younger brother, Harish (23) went to bed after finishing sorting recyclable plastic litter they had collected from near their Najafgarh home over the past week – they saw the ‘wall of fire’ reduce it to cinder.
“It was just waste material for others, but for us – it was a week’s earnings.”
The Rawat brothers are not alone.
They are among the approximately 1500 small-time plastic scrap dealers self-employed at the nameless toxic waste dumping facility that was devoured by flames during the early hours of Sunday — an incident which they allege was a well-planned manoeuvre to scare them away.
The police however are yet to receive any complaint from those who witnessed the inferno. “No one has approached us with any complaint of arson yet and we will look into the matter if and when a formal complaint is lodged,” said Sharad Aggarwal, DCP (west)) Delhi.
Fire department officials said they suspected foul play.