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Parties won’t waste time on Deonar’s problems

On January 28, it will be one year since a massive fire in the dumpyard disrupted the lives of most living around Deonar

mumbai Updated: Jan 20, 2017 11:09 IST
Sanjana Bhalerao
3,000 metric tonnes of garbage are dumped at the Deonar ground daily.
3,000 metric tonnes of garbage are dumped at the Deonar ground daily.(HT File Photo)

Twelve million tonnes of waste, 94 years of overuse, 10 years of planning and 12 massive fires in 2016 -- this is the story of Deonar, the largest dumping ground in the country’s financial capital.

On January 28, it will be one year since a massive fire in the dumpyard disrupted the lives of most living around Deonar. Battling stench and respiratory disorders, the 8.2 lakh citizens of M/east ward (Govandi, Deonar and Mankhurd) that houses the dumping ground are angry, but helpless. But their pleas are not strong enough to make it to the election campaign of any political party.

Since 2005, Mumbai has been fed with the dream of becoming Shanghai. Twelve years later too, the city is treating the 9,500 metric tonnes of waste generated daily in an age-old style. Of the 9,500 metric tonnes of waste, only 3,000 metric tonnes is processed at Kanjurmarg dump site, which is also not fully functional yet.

Why can’t the administration and corporators of the city manage its waste well?

Both the city and state governments are to be blame. After the disastrous fire at Deonar, the authorities announced new dumping grounds at Taloja and Airoli. A year later, the state is yet to allot a plot for the dumping ground at Taloja in Navi Mumbai.

While setting June 2017 as the deadline for scientific disposal of waste, the Bombay high court had also appointed a six-member committee to ensure there were no more fires and to check if the civic body was working towards meeting the deadline. “There have been five meetings with the BMC, but at the present pace, it is impossible meet the deadline. These meetings are just to show the HC that the BMC followed their order,” said a committee member.

The municipal solid waste management rules, 2000, which were recently notified after 16 years, makes it compulsory for all local bodies to scientifically treat the waste and provide infrastructure for segregation, collection, transportation of the waste.

While the BMC has asked citizens to segregate waste, it has failed to provide infrastructure to transport the segregated waste.

The processing of waste at two other sites -- Deonar and Mulund -- is far from the starting point. One year after the fire, companies are yet to show interest in the processing of 3,000 metric tonnes of waste at Deonar. The second largest dumping ground that takes another 2,500 metric tonnes of waste daily, too, has not got bidders.

While the disastrous fire at Deonar got attention from politicians, residents in the tony suburbs and the media, it hasn’t changed much for the residents. With the political interest too fading away, they are now staring at a bleak future.

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