Responding to demands that emerged during the week-long fire at the Deonar dumping ground last month, the BMC took up a massive demolition drive to clear the area along the site’s boundary walls on Wednesday. More than 100 illegal structures were mowed down in areas including Adarsh Nagar, Padma Nagar and Indira Nagar with more to follow on Thursday. In addition, 10 CCTV cameras were installed in the dumping ground as well.
Among the demolished structures, there were five godowns (30 feet by 15 feet each) being used illegally for segregation of garbage taken out of the Deonar dumping ground. “Members of the gangs that operate in the area take garbage using holes in the boundary walls of the dumping ground to the godowns where they take the useful material and then discard the rest in the drains,” said Assistant Municipal Commissioner Kiran Dighavkar.
Meanwhile, one of the partners in the firm, whose contract for a waste management facility in Deonar was cancelled last month, Tatva Global Environment, has sent a reply to the termination notice demanding a payment of Rs 35.91 crore. The notice also terms the termination illegal stating that the tender conditions had included an additional period of six months in case of an early termination. The contractor handed the plot over to the BMC on January 31.
During the discussion on the Deonar dumping ground fire, corporators including Rais Shaikh raised questions about the lack of legal actions against the contractor. “A criminal complaint of negligence should be filed against the contractor and he should be made to pay a hefty fine for the expenses caused tp the BMC due to the fire in the past weeks as well as the impact on the environment. Why hasn’t the administration taken any action yet?” he asked.
Meanwhile, the BMC aims to remove about 250 illegal structures constructed in a 3-4 km radius around the wall. Maintaining that none of the hutments were legal, Dighavkar said that the problem of illegal structures is rampant in the area since no action is taken to maintain the space once it is cleared.
“I have proposed to the solid waste management department to create a project or construct legalised segregation centres for the ragpickers. Else, in a matter of months, illegal hutments will crop up once again,” he said.