Deadlock on Bhagtanwala dump; area residents burn mayor's effigy
Mayor Bakshi Ram Arora is firm on dumping garbage at the Bhagtanwala dump and has not accepted the demand to shift the proposed solid waste treatment plant in the area to another place.punjab Updated: Nov 17, 2014 20:43 IST
Mayor Bakshi Ram Arora is firm on dumping garbage at the Bhagtanwala dump and has not accepted the demand to shift the proposed solid waste treatment plant in the area to another place.
His resoluteness has further aggravated the ire of the residents of the areas in the vicinity of the dump, who have been holding a protest over the issue for the past few days.
As the anguished residents' dharna entered the 16th day on Monday, they also burnt the effigy of the mayor in protest against his tough stance on the issue. Their anguish stems from the fact that more than 100 people have lost their lives due to diseases caused by the dump in the past four years.
"There is an outpouring of support from the public and various political parties, who have started joining their voices with ours seeking the removal of the dump, but the mayor remains unmoved," said Sanjay Sharma, an area resident.
He added that not only had the mayor abstained from visiting the spot till date, but he was also issuing statements that were hurtful to the sentiments of the residents of the localities around the dump.
"Almost every political party is on our side as far as the issue of the dump is concerned, but the mayor has not yet visited the spot or shown sympathy and sorrow over the deaths caused by the dump," he said.
The residents maintained that the least the MC authorities could have done was to get the area fogged to prevent further spread of diseases. "But all that they seem concerned about is dumping garbage at the dump site in one way or the other as the mayor has made it clear," Sharma added.
"There is politics going on at the dump," said mayor Bakshi Ram Arora, when asked about his stance on the issue. He asserted that burning his effigy was not an issue. "It prolongs the life of the person whose effigy is burnt," he quipped. The mayor added that as the residents were in no mood to listen to the MC authorities, there was no point in visiting the dump site where the protest was held.
Arora, however, claimed that he had already done his bit for the residents by urging the government to sanction funds for getting a boundary wall erected around the dump. "While dumping of garbage at the site has already been stopped, they do not want the solid waste management plant to come up at Bhagtanwala and are not even willing to listen to the MC. How can the matter be resolved unless they are willing to talk or even listen to us?" he wondered.
SAD COUNCILLORS BACK BHAGTANWALA RESIDENTS
Taking a serious view of the lives lost due to diseases caused by the dump in the localities in the vicinity of Bhagtanwala dump, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) councillors have demanded that the dumping of garbage be stopped there.
"Whatever has been done so far in the name of the dump has been done verbally. The SAD takes the issue seriously. The matter should be raised in the meeting of the MC House and dumping of garbage at Bhagtanwala should be ceased with the approval of the House," said Surinder Singh Sultanwind, leader of SAD councilors in the MC House.
The SAD councilors have demanded that dumping of garbage be undertaken ward-wise. "Dumping sites should be identified in each ward, but the proposed solid waste treatment plant is meant for the entire city and can be set up somewhere outside the city," Sultanwind said.