Updated: September 12, 2021 4:40:34 pm
Filth, stench, and disease. This is the lot of over 50,000 residents of Dadumajra, who are forced to live cheek by jowl with the dumping ground of the City Beautiful. The mountain of untreated garbage that the city has accumulated not only belies its claims of being a smart city but is also making life a living hell for the locals.
No one knows it better than 50-year-old Suman, who came here after marriage around 22 years ago. A few years later, she started developing breathing problems and rashes on the skin.
“Our house is just across the wall of the dumping ground. I was fit and fine when I used to live with my parents in Sector 38. But soon after I got married, I developed respiratory issues and was diagnosed with asthma. Now I also suffer from skin allergies,” said Suman.
Like others in the village, she’s been feeding on false hope. “Initially when I moved here, I thought the dump would go away soon since every political leader who came here during elections would promise to shift it, but that never happened. Instead, the height of the dump increased more than the height of our houses here. It is a mountain now.”
Suman claimed that respiratory issues are common in the area. “One of my neighbours died of lung disease eight months after his father’s death.”
Sushila, another local, said she had developed boils on her body for which she frequents the Government Multi Speciality Hospital, Sector 16.
“Earlier, I used to go to Sector 35 dispensary but the boils kept coming back and I was sent to Sector 16 hospital. Almost everyone here has one ailment or the other. “ Pointing to the slush flowing down the street, she says, “There is no officer of the Chandigarh administration or Municipal Corporation who can stand here for a minute what to talk of hours or days, but we have been living here for years. What can we do? This is our home.”
Mukesh, a resident of House Number 74 in the colony, said he’s been getting rashes on his back for the last five years. He has been getting treatment from GMSH Sector 16 but to no avail. “Nothing helps, these rashes keep returning,” he shrugs.
The cause of his disease, he says, is in the air. “I develop these painful rashes almost every week. There are so many insects and flies around because of the dump that such infections are commonplace here. As for me, there are times that I can sleep only after I take a painkiller,” says Mukesh, whose house lies in front of the dumping ground.
The last year with its frequent lockdowns was particularly painful for the residents. “While residents in the rest of the city could at least walk in their verandahs, gardens or balconies and inhale fresh air but there was no respite for us. The city keeps throwing out garbage and it comes to us. Hum kahan bahar niklen….Yahan bahar saans lene mein bhi bimariyan hai aur tabiyat aur kharab ho jaati hai,” lamented Suman .
Marriages unmade in Dadumajra
Locals complain that the dump and the attendant problems are not only blighting their health but marital prospects as well.
Mange Ram, a resident of Dadumajra, said that his son got married in 2017 and within fifteen days, his daughter-in-law, who is in the medical profession, packed her bags.
“My daughter-in-law recused to live here, there was lot of tension in the family. But since it was the question of our son’s married life, we let the couple relocate to Sector 38. They don’t even come to meet us here in Dadumajra, it’s we who go to meet them,” sighs Mange Ram.
Mange Ram said there are families who had to rent accommodation in other sectors so that they could wed their children.
“One of our relatives had four daughters and whenever they would go to find a match, people would refuse the minute they mentioned Dadumajra. They then shifted to a rented house, and married all four of their daughters. Now, I am worried for my younger son because no one sends their daughters here. People assume that persons living amidst this filth would be suffering from some disease.”
Dyal Krishan, president of the Joint Action Committee, said that if officials pay a visit to the colony, he is ready to take them to local residences to show how almost every member is suffering from one ailment or the other.
“The dirty water, which is the leachate, flows from the wall to the houses. And whenever a fire breaks out, all of us are left gasping for breath. Isn’t it a violation of human rights? Don’t we have the right to free air?,” he asks.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.