Road dust and garbage dumped near Mehrauli Archaeological Park riles tourists, residents
For the past one year, 42-year-old Mohammad Rehaan has been unable to send his children out to play. The wall of the Mehrauli Archaeological Park located opposite his residence has become a dumping ground for road dust collected by the road sweeping machines. “This area has become so polluted. The municipal corporation drops the road dust during the day and at night garbage from private households get dumped on the same pile,” said Rehaan.
The 200 metres -250 metres stretch of the garbage pile, lying adjacent to the archaeological park is located at a distance of about 100 metres from the ASI-protected Qutub complex. While the 12th century minaret built by Sultanate rulers is ranked as one of the most visited tourist sites in the country, the adjoining archaeological park consists of over 100 historically significant monuments dating from the time of the Tomar rulers in the 11th century to that of the British Raj in the 19th century. “Tourists have been facing a lot of problem due to the dirt and stench being caused by the garbage dump there. We have already written complaints to the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), but did not receive any response from them,” said an official from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
According to residents and local street vendors in the area, street dust is dumped seven times a day till 2pm. “It gets cleared up once in six-seven months and that too only part of the stretch,” said Pradeep Kumar, a flower seller. “Also, whenever it rains this area gets waterlogged for days at a stretch. The silt and garbage has blocked the drain through which the rainwater was meant to escape into the archaeological park,” he added.
Another flower-seller Santosh Kumar said the accumulation of garbage in the area has affected his sales as well. “Now the festivities will start. Which customer would want to come here to purchase flowers in so much of dirt?” he asked.
KC Bharadwaj, superintendent of sanitation, SDMC, said, “This is road silt and not garbage. We had to deposit it here because of lack of available space. However, we will carry out a cleaning drive here soon and also try to make this area greener.”
The ASI official said similar problems of garbage accumulation have come up in areas around few other monuments in the city as well, including the back side of Humayun’s tomb, near the Ashokan rock edict at East of Kailash and Moth ki Masjid. “We have written complaints to the municipal corporations for clearing each of these areas and are yet to hear from them,” he said.