The shoddy state of sanitation services at Ramlila Maidan on Tuesday clearly indicated that the organisers of the protest had not anticipated the huge turnout. Scattered banana peels and empty water packets pointed to the absence of a garbage disposal system.
To make matters worse, knee-deep water collected in the ground after rains, making it an ideal breeding place for mosquitoes. “Staff will be deployed to remove the water, but we won’t be able to make the entire ground fit for the protest if it rains tomorrow,” said Subhash Arya, leader of MCD house.
While organisers claimed they had paid a one-time amount of R1,000 to MCD to take care of sanitation services, the civic agency said such an arrangement does not come under its jurisdiction.
The agency claimed it has already spent more than R5 lakh on maintenance of the ground. “Generally protests or rallies at Ramlila Maidan last only for a day and hence we collect a one-time amount and clear the ground once the event is over. However, in this case, our staffers are taking care of it round-the-clock,” said Yogender Chandolia, chairman, standing committee, MCD.
When asked about the poor sanitation conditions, the organisers shifted the blame on MCD. “We can’t handle the cleanliness of such a huge ground. We had told the MCD to take care of it,” said Neeraj Kumar, member of India Against Corruption.
An MCD official did not agree. “The organisers did not even bother to provide water for mobile toilets. We have pressed a tanker into service for this purpose. Levelling the ground is not our work, but we did it as it was for a good cause,” he said.