Though the state government has planned to invest around Rs 373 crore for the development of Jalandhar city under the Urban Rural Regeneration Mission that largely includes road-carpeting work, there are some parts of the city that have not even touched development. One such part is Wariana dump site and its surrounding areas.
The people in this area have lost hope of progress as they have not seen any development initiative by the government for many years.
As the plan of solid waste management project in Jamsher is still hanging fire, a major concern of people in the area is the health issues that are rising with the pile of dump.
Locals in the area informed HT that at least one member of every household is suffering from typhoid. “Cases from deaths due to malaria, typhoid and dengue go unnoticed in the areas,” Randhir Gupta, a vegetable vendor in the area said. “We have only one government dispensary here that opens only on Wednesdays and Saturdays,” he added.
Locals who have been residing in the area for more than a decade said they never witnessed any health camps being organised in the area by the health department. They informed that only ‘polio drops’ people visit their area once in a while.
Though due to mound of garbage lying unattended in Wariana, the areas are in the dire need of fogging, residents said ‘no such things are being done here’.
Meanwhile, muddy roads and no sewerage facilities add to the woes of people. Mata Sant Kaur Nagar that adjoins Wariana dump site is also in a bad condition.
The surrounding area of Wariana dump site is largely inhabited by migrant labourers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh who work as rag pickers, in factories or local diaries.
Sources said there are over 500 rag pickers over Wariana dump site. Of them around 300 are women and children. Only a few of the children of rag pickers who live in jhuggis go to school as they have to work along with their parents have to earn their living by collecting plastics and iron from the garbage.
Vinod, 30, who works as a rag picker said there is no fixed amount that they earn in a day, “If lucky to find some valuables in garbage, we earn `150 to `200 a day, he said.
It is to be mentioned that municipal corporation Jalandhar (MCJ) authorities while explaining the plan for the development of Urban Rural Generation Mission have never made any mention of upgrading this areas and the government has also not announced any plan of development.
Meanwhile, Municipal Corporation (MC) commissioner GS Khaira said that the dump has been existing for nearly 35 years and the people living around the area are those migrants. He added that many unauthorised structures have also come up in the area, but on humanitarian grounds he will ask the sanitation department to organise health camps in the ares and also conduct fogging.