In Damage Control Mode, Delhi Lt Governor Bans Garbage Dumping In Ghazipur

Delhi LG Anil Baijal had called a meeting of top government officials on Saturday morning and decided to impose the garbage dumping ban in Ghazipur.

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In Damage Control Mode, Delhi Lt Governor Bans Garbage Dumping In Ghazipur

Delhi LG Anil Baijal has imposed a ban on dumping garbage in Ghazipur (File photo)

NEW DELHI:  As Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party tried to corner the BJP-led municipal corporation and the centre over the two deaths in the Ghazipur landfill collapse on Friday, Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal moved swiftly today to ban dumping of any more solid waste at this location. Instead, Mr Baijal also got an assurance from the highways authority to revive an old plan to use the trash to build highways.

Two persons had died when the mountain of toxic trash dumped at the three-decade-old site teetered and collapsed on Friday afternoon, pushing some vehicles on the road into a canal.

After a quick tour of the site, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had blamed the municipal corporation where the BJP is in power for what he called was a "man-made disaster".

"Visited Ghazipur site. Its man made disaster. Criminal. Mountains of garbage. Why doesn't MCD use modern technology to manage solid waste?" Mr Kejriwal tweeted. Other leaders of the party followed up, blaming the Delhi Development Authority which is headed by Lt Governor Baijal and comes directly under the central government.

Mr Kejriwal's party also put out a letter sent to the MCD last year by the city's pollution control committee reminding the corporation that dumping site was running in violation of environmental rules.

Just so that there was no confusion on who was responsible, it was also announced that Mr Kejriwal would meet the Lieutenant Governor to seek corrective measures. This meeting was scheduled to be held at 5 pm.

But Mr Baijal announced the decision to shut down the Ghazipur landfill site soon after his meeting earlier in the day with senior officials of east Delhi's municipal corporation, the Delhi Development Authority and the National Highways Authority of India.
  
His office said the highway authority would begin lifting, segregating and processing the solid waste by November 2017. "The dumped waste will be used for construction of service roads and the entire landfill site will be cleared within two years," the statement added.

The Ghazipur landfill came up in 1984 and caters to the waste generated in east Delhi, central Delhi and the old quarters of the city. With nearly 2500 tonnes of garbage being dumped at the site every day, what had started as a pit grew to more than 160 feet in height, more than thrice the permissible limit.

Responding to reports that the Lt Governor had ordered dumping trash at the landfill site in north Delhi's Bhalswa, the Aam Aadmi Party, which has been unsparing in its attacks on Mr Baijal in recent weeks, said he had probably not been told that this location was not environmentally sound either.

"We appeal to Delhi LG Anil Baijal to rescind his order to shift the landfill site to Bhalswa," the party said in a statement.

Much of the AAP's aggressiveness is being attributed to its win in the Bawana assembly election after a disastrous performance in the municipal elections earlier this year.

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