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Civic agencies yet to clean up their act

The cost of living in Delhi is rising. Yet Ramakant Singh, a resident of IP Extension, cannot cut his monthly expenditure on the repair work of his air conditioner or refrigerator.

delhi Updated: Sep 21, 2012 01:42 IST
Neelam Pandey

The cost of living in Delhi is rising. Yet Ramakant Singh, a resident of IP Extension, cannot cut his monthly expenditure on the repair work of his air conditioner or refrigerator. And it isn’t voltage fluctuation that is damaging them, but foul gases from the nearby open drain, he says.

Several residents of east Delhi’s Mayur Vihar, Mayur Vihar Extension, Patparganj, IP Extension agree. Most houses in the gated colonies of east Delhi are lined along the drain that runs parallel to the Uttar Pradesh Link Road.

“We have to get the gas of our AC refilled twice in one season as the gas pipe gets corroded. The AC mechanic told us this happens due to the polluted air. We have written to the authorities many times, but nothing has been done,” said Alka Gupta, manager of Kirti Apartments in Mayur Vihar Extension.

“These drains have become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. It is impossible to go out for morning or evening walks due to the constant foul stench from the drain,” added Joyesh Sharma, a resident of the apartment complex.

Environmentalists have demanded that the drain be cleaned and tested. “If drains are not cleaned, they can emanate acidic gases which can corrode metals. If the gases are affecting copper wires, imagine their impact on people,” said Ravi Aggarwal, director of Toxic Link, an NGO.

However, the east Delhi civic agency claimed that the Lt Governor had instructed them not to cover any drain. “The drain in question belongs to the irrigation and flood department. Also, even in the case of smaller drains, we can only clean them but can’t cover them,” said a senior official of the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC).

East Delhi colonies also complain of unhygienic conditions. Trees are not trimmed and garbage is not picked up. “The civic agency doesn’t even make an attempt to clean the garbage on the service roads. The garbage stations are overflowing and the entire area stinks,” said Mukesh Sharma, a resident of Parwana Apartments in Mayur Vihar Extension.

The garbage from the dumpyard in front of Queen Mary School in Mayur Vihar Phase 1. Residents say the sanitation workers do not lift the garbage for weeks altogether, which results in this stockpile in front of their homes.

The commissioner of East Delhi Municipal Corporation JS Yadav admitted that the streets were not being swept properly though the agency has started lifting more garbage from east Delhi societies. “As far as sweeping of streets is concerned, we need to do a lot more. We have sufficient workforce and are trying to ensure that roads are clean at all times,” said Yadav.

“Before the EDMC came into existence, around 1,200 metric tonne of garbage used to be lifted. Now, it has gone up to 2,000. East Delhi was one of the most neglected areas of the city. We are trying to change that,” added Yadav.

“Cleaning the area is our responsibility. We are looking into the possibility of introducing door-to-door garbage collection system,” said the senior municipal official.

Residents also claim that the civic agency has also not started night sweeping, which — it is believed — helps reduce the pollution level in a city. “We don’t have adequate staff for that. Also, due to security concerns, a number of employees, especially women, are not very enthused about the idea,” added the official.


Cover the drain – that’s all he wants

Dharmpal, Resident of Parwana Apartments

Scorching heat or not, Dharmal, a resident of Parwana Apartments in Mayur Vihar Extension, has spent more on changing the parts of his electronic goods than on anything else. The employee of United Bank of India is now worried about the spiralling cost of living.

“The drain lies right in front of my house and has been causing a lot of problems. I have to get my AC and refrigerator repaired every four to five months. And the cost of the repair work is rising by the day. The drain emanates harmful gases, which creates pores in the copper pipes of these gadgets, leading to discharge of gas,” he said.

And his list of woes does not end here. “The repair shops in the area are cashing in on the fact that all residents are facing such problems. They know that we have no option but to avail their services and pay exorbitant service charges for even minor repairs such as refilling the gas,” Dharmpal said.

He has a simple request to the civic body — cover the drains. “We do not expect the civic body to compensate for our losses. Nor can we continue to spend a huge amount of our salaries on repair bills. The simplest thing the civic agency can do is to get these drains covered. We have been writing to them for months on the issue, but to no avail,” he adds. Neelam Pandey

They encounter filth and foul smell every day

Sokesh Sharma, Secretary, Parwana Apartment society

It’s a predicament the Parwana Apartment society residents see every day and feel sickened by — overflowing garbage in the dhalao right in front of the colony gate, foul stench from the days-long filth and dogs foraging through the trash and spilling it on to the main road.

“The garbage from the dhalao is not lifted for days altogether. Not only does it produce a foul smell, but several times, cows and dogs spill the garbage from the dhalao on to the main road,
making it difficult for people to walk,” said Sokesh Sharma, secretary of Parwana apartment society in Mayur Vihar Extension.

And though the residents have sent several complaints to the civic agency, but the requests seem to have fallen
on deaf ears. “The situation worsens during monsoon as the garbage gets mixed with rainwater and chokes
the drains. It is a serious health hazard. But the civic agency does nothing,” added Sharma.

Garbage from four different colonies is dumped into this particular garbage station. “We have our own system of garbage disposal in which hired staff collects the trash from door-to-door and dumps it here. However, the garbage remains at the dhalao for weeks. Sanitation workers rarely come to clean the station,” added Sharma. -- Neelam Pandey