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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Death of 2 in Ghazipur trash mountain collapse: Court asks EDMC to pay families

The EDMC also submitted that the “trash mountain was maintained with the utmost care” and that heavy rainfall for 2-3 days before the incident increased the risk.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: May 14, 2022 10:40:11 am
Death of 2 in Ghazipur trash mountain collapse: Court asks EDMC to pay familiesThe EDMC also submitted that the “trash mountain was maintained with the utmost care” and that heavy rainfall for 2-3 days before the incident increased the risk. (File Photo)

A Delhi court has awarded compensation to the families of two persons who died when a portion of the garbage heap at Ghazipur collapsed and swept them into a canal. The East Delhi Municipal Corporation has been directed to pay the amount.

Abhishek Gautam, a 20-year-old DU student, and Raj Kumari (31), who worked at a private company in Gurgaon, died on September 1, 2017. Gautam and his friend were passing through Hindon canal service road when, all of a sudden, the mountain of trash collapsed and several persons were swept away into a nearby canal. Kumari, who was travelling on a scooter, too was swept away. She was due to get married soon.

Additional District Judge awarded Gautam’s family Rs 1,500,000 and Kumari’s Rs 1,000,000 in two separate orders.
Gautam’s parents, who filed the suit, told the court their son died due to the EDMC’s negligence, which could not restrict the height of the garbage mountain to 20 metres, and due to their “irresponsible and careless execution and dereliction of duties” it stood at 50 metres. They asked the court for a compensation of Rs 1,500,000 citing the fact that their son was also working as an installation engineer and with his death they lost a breadwinner.

The EDMC, in its reply, stated that the plea was not maintainable as the Delhi government had already paid them Rs 2,00,000, and the EDMC Rs 1,00,000 as compensation.

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The EDMC also submitted that the “trash mountain was maintained with the utmost care” and that heavy rainfall for 2-3 days before the incident increased the risk. It further said rainfall reduced “interlayer fraction holding the two layers together” and that natural pores stopping trapped landfill gases from escaping were blocked which “might have created increased pressure underneath and triggered slide of garbage dump”.

The court said that even assuming that the incident at the Ghazipur landfill “occurred because of incessant rain for 2­4 days or natural/circumstantial reasons for which no person was responsible”, the height of the heap of garbage “was potentially dangerous which have been proved by the subsequent event in the loss of the life of the son of the plaintiffs”.

Awarding relief to the parents, the court said that “the death of the son of the plaintiffs on the balance of probability appears to have been caused because of the negligent conduct of the defendant in maintaining the landfill…”

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