Every time 50-year-old Mahipal Singh crosses the pile of garbage on the pucca road near the canal in Ghazipur, it’s a grim reminder of the son he lost on September 1. Abhishek, 20, was on his way home to Rajbir Colony, when a portion of the landfill fell into the canal, and the rising water washed up those on the road. Abhishek was one of the two who died. Almost two months after the incident, a heap of garbage from that day still remains on the road. “I have to take that road every day, it scares me, hurts me… the authorities have not even bothered to clear the dump,” said Singh.
Even though the road has been shut down, two-wheelers have found a way around the heap of trash, via the parallel road. The grills on the boundary of the roads, which broke on the day of the incident, too, have not yet been repaired. Ranbir Singh, Commissioner of East Delhi Municipal Corporation, (EDMC), said, “All the garbage that fell in the canal on September 1 was taken out of there and put on the road…50 per cent of it has been removed.” He added, “We have been unable to find extra dipper trucks that pick garbage for this purpose…they are all busy in everyday work. But in a few weeks, we should be able to remove the rest of the garbage from the road.”
Mohd Wasim, 31, a resident of Khoda village, takes the parallel road every day to reach his makeshift shop in Ghazipur. He said, “The condition of the parallel road is worse…it’s narrow, and broken in places. If even one vehicle stops there, it causes a traffic jam that can last up to two hours. All the authorities have to do is remove the garbage from the other road…this journey is so harrowing now”.
While Wasim spoke about traffic snarls, another passerby, Rinku, 28, who lives in Rajbir Colony, said, “Not only do we live next to a landfill, now there is a hill of garbage on the road too. I ride a cycle and cross the heap on the road daily…the stench is disgusting and it can make us all fall sick. How have they not removed this in two months?”
Meanwhile, garbage continues to be dumped at the Ghazipur landfill. About this, Singh said, “There is no other site available to us for dumping. We couldn’t get Rani Khera…the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has refused us Gonda Gujran, even though the DDA is ready.” He added, “We are now going to increase the capacity of the waste to energy plant. Right now, it’s 1,300 metric tonnes daily. We will increase it to 1,900 metric tonnes daily by November-December…and to 2,500 metric tonnes daily in a year’s time.”