With Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tweeting about the Deonar dumping ground fire and rising concerns about its impact on the already poor quality air, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the fire brigade worked at a frenetic pace Saturday morning to bring the blaze under control.
The BMC also filed an FIR against unknown persons at Shivaji Nagar police station for alleged arson Saturday. Finally, two days after the fire first broke out, the fire brigade said it was under control and cooling operations were underway. Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta told The Indian Express the administration was serious about finding a way to tackle recurring incidents of fire at the dumping ground. “We are in the process of finalising a consultant to prepare a plan for a waste-to-energy plant,” said Mehta.
On Saturday morning, Fadnavis tweeted that he had spoken to Mehta about the Deonar fire. Subsequently, senior fire officers and civic officials, including deputy municipal commissioner Prakash Patil who handles the solid waste management department, visited the Deonar dumping ground Saturday.
Spoke to Mumbai Municipal Commissioner. He assured that no stone will be left unturned to control the smoke at Deonar.
— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) January 30, 2016
In 2009, the BMC had given a contract for the gradual closing of the dumping ground and setting up a compost plant to process 2,000 metric tonnes garbage per day at the site. With the work not progressing, in September last year, the BMC issued a notice to the contractor to hand over the dumping ground back to the BMC by January 30, 2016. Officials said any plans for the Deonar dumping ground would now have to be redrawn.
Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party corporator from Govandi Rais Shaikh demanded a criminal investigation into the cause of the fire. “The normal spm level is below 100. But, it is 432 today in the area. It is much higher than normal. A criminal investigation needs to be done into the matter. Also, the lapses by the fire department should be studied. They claimed yesterday that the fire had been doused,” Shaikh said Saturday.
Officials said that to bring the fire under control, 14 fire engines, 8 water tankers, advanced fire-fighting machinery, 21 fire officers and 132 fire fighters were deployed Saturday.
“Two mini water tenders were used to douse the fire. Also for the first time, jet cool solution was used,” said an official.
Meanwhile, senior inspector of Shivaji Nagar police station BT Jadhav said that no evidence was found regarding a complaint filed by the civic body last March, alleging sabotage after a
similar, smaller fire.
“Following the complaint, we had registered an FIR. But during the inquiry, we could not find any evidence to establish the intention behind the incident. So we closed the case last November,” Jadhav told The Indian Express.