Even as the Mumbai fire brigade tried to control the fire at Deonar dumping ground on Saturday, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis asked Mumbai police commissioner to probe the possibility of sabotage. The Mumbai civic body has filed a First Information Report (FIR) against the contractor responsible for disposal of waste at the dumping ground.
Fadnavis tweeted on Saturday evening, “BMC Commissioner informs that smoke at Deonar is substantially under control. I’ve asked CP, Mumbai to enquire into possibility of a sabotage.”
The fire in the city’s oldest dumping ground in Deonar continued to cause pollution in the city, but was in control. Mumbai fire brigade’s chief fire officer PS Rahangdale said the fire was in control, but added that the complete dousing of fire would take some time. On Saturday, the fire aggravated again at the dumping ground and moderate wind led to several parts of eastern suburbs like Govandi, Shivaji Nagar, Chembur, Tilak Nagar, Ghatkopar, Kurla and central part of city like Wadala, Sion getting covered in smog. Several people living in these areas complained about continuous breathing problems and respiratory ailments because of the smoke. Schools near the dumping ground have been closed for the past two days because of the smoke. On Friday, many students had complained about itchy eyes and breathing problems after which more than 50 schools were asked to shut down as a precaution. Fadnavis then directed the civic body to take immediate action to douse the fire.
There are a couple of theories doing the rounds over what could have caused the fire. “There might be chances of mischief and negligence by the contractor as his contract ends this month. Considering this, we have registered an FIR against the contractor and unknown persons,” said Rahangdale. Last year, the BMC had started the process of terminating the company’s contract, which is supposed to get over on January 31.
Civic officials also suspect the scrap mafia in the area or rag pickers could also be responsible for the fire. Local corporator Rais Shaikh demanded a probe. “There could be mischief by the contractor since his contract is ending this month.
BJP city unit president, Ashish Shelar also visited to spot and demanded an inquiry with CM Fadnavis.
“There has to be inquiry about the extent of the damage to the environment and cause of the fire in Deonar. Also, the delay in dousing the fire should be probed,” Shelar said.