The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has failed to install adequate number of CCTV cameras in the Deonar dumping ground though the proposal was passed in 2012, citizens and corporators allege. A massive fire broke out at the city’s largest dumping ground on Thursday, emitting smoke that covered the eastern suburbs with thick smog till Friday afternoon. Sources from the M-East ward office (which includes Deonar) confirmed that the incident was caused by miscreants.
The BMC had passed the proposal to install CCTV cameras at the three dumping grounds-Mulund, Kanjurmarg and Deonar. However, corporators have time and again alleged that the project never took off leading to illegal dumping in the ground. Rais Shaikh, Samajwadi Party corporator from the area, said he had raised a point of order with the BMC thrice about the issue but to no avail. “There is just one camera installed at the entrance but we haven’t even been able to access the footage till date. The civic body has failed to install an effective sufficient surveillance system required in the area,” Shaikh said after visiting the area on Saturday.
Rajkumar Sharma, a Chembur-based activist, said, “The BMC ought to install more cameras to keep these activities under control. There is an entire mafia operating in this area by selling waste and making money of it. If we don’t take steps now, we can only expect more of such incidents that affect several citizens at one go.”
A senior civic official from the M-East ward confirmed that there was only one camera installed at the main gate but none inside the ground that could have helped them. However, Prakash Patil, deputy municipal commissioner of the solid waste management department, said, “We have installed four CCTV cameras inside the ground but these are far from where the fire erupted. I don’t know if there are any cameras installed by the police inside. For now, we are concentrating on the cooling operations. We will look into the cause of the fire after that.”
The cooling operations continued through Saturday, fire officials confirmed. Kiran Dighavkar, M-East ward officer, said, “The fire spread through the last two days but we have been successful in controlling the blaze. We are now left with just 10 per cent of the cooling operations. We have deployed three fire engines and six water tankers at the spot.”