THE BRIHANMUMBAI Municipal Corporation (BMC) has attributed the likely cause of fire that broke out at the Deonar dumping ground on October 21 to miscreants and is now planning to beef up security in and around the dumpyard. To ensure that another such untoward incident does not occur, senior civic officials have asked the Solid Waste Management (SWM) department to file a police complaint as well.
Officials from the SWM department stated that a fire broke out in the Deonar dumping ground Friday evening and it was brought under control within the next one hour. “The fire was the first one after the monsoon season ended. It had rained last on October 10. It is possible that miscreants had deliberately started the fire due to which the civic chief Ajoy Mehta had directed the SWM officials to register a police complaint,” said a senior civic official.
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Another official from the SWM department, however, stated that though the civic officials had gone to Shivaji Nagar police station to file a complaint, the latter were reluctant to register the complaint. “Police said we had come too late and that they wouldn’t register the complaint. We will try to file the complaint again,” said the official.
B Dhole, senior inspector, Shivaji Nagar police station, said they have not yet received a written application from the civic body about the fire. “We are still investigating the matter to check if it was an accidental fire or someone deliberately caused it,” he said.
Earlier this year, a series of major fire incidents had broken out at the Deonar dumping ground. It first broke out in January and went on for several months.
After the fires broke out, the ragpickers were barred from entering the dumping ground and are still not allowed inside. Before the monsoon hit the city in June, the municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta had directed the SWM officials to take up several measures to prevent any unauthorised entry into the dumping ground. However, apart from repair of the boundary wall of the dumping ground, other measures are yet to be implemented.
Solid waste management officials stated that the major fires and the subsequent political uproar had led to minimal response from the contractors despite floating the tenders several times. “We floated tenders for CCTV cameras, masts, earth mover machines and bulldozers up to four times and have received single bidders or two bidders at best. We started the tendering process in July and the lack of adequate response has delayed the work,” said the official.
Apart from repairing the wall, barbed wire has been placed over half the boundary and the work is still in progress. Meanwhile, the Rs 1000 crore waste to energy project’s tender for the Deonar dumping ground is in the process of being uploaded onto the website and the tendering process is expected to begin this week. Despite several calls, civic commissioner Ajoy Mehta and deputy municipal commissioner Vijay Balamwar could not be reached for a comment.