Living across a landfill spread across 70 acres, residents of Bhalswa Dairy are only concerned if their new MCD councillor can provide a cleaner living space, better drinking water and parks.
“Imagine living near a landfill. The water is bad. There can be a fire anytime and it takes a long time to douse them. There are many small factories here. The air is also bad. I run a parlour and want better facilities in the area. I have been living here for more than 20 years… No one has done anything so far,” said Anu Kaur.
On Sunday afternoon, AAP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who came to the area to campaign for the party’s MCD pick Timsi Sharma, pointed to the landfill and said it shows the “corruption” in the BJP-ruled civic body.
“Jiski sarkaar ho, usi ko parshad banaye… We are confident that you will support Arvind Kejriwal in the MCD polls. Our candidates are competent and will work for their betterment. The BJP has not done anything here in the last 15 years. This place has become hell… we will change that,” said Sisodia, addressing hundreds of locals and AAP supporters who lined up in the narrow lanes of Durga Chowk in the area.
Timsi Sharma is fighting the election against BJP’s Divya Jha, district secretary in Northwest Delhi, and Congress’s Sunita Devi. She is supported by her husband Suresh, who has been an AAP member for 12 years.
The couple have promised to “change the face” of the landfill. “It is a health hazard. I also want to provide better drinking water and parks here… Locals are suffering because of the BJP rule. We will change that,” she said.
Bhalswa Dairy is part of the Jahangirpuri ward, which also includes areas of Shradhanand Colony and Swaroop Colony. Most residents live in small bungalows and the streets are lined with carts and shops. There are two parks in the ward, bereft of trees. Bhalswa landfill is near Durga Chowk while a lake flows near the main road.
Most residents run small businesses — selling milk, groceries, spare car and motor parts. With the landfill right outside the residential area, the groundwater too is highly polluted.
For people who run dairies in the area, the dirty water not only affects them but also their business. Suresh Kumar, who runs a dairy and came to hear Sisodia’s speech, said: “We have cows and some people also have goats. The animals need good water and a good environment. You see the landfill and the nullah here. The cows get sick. I don’t know if AAP will do anything, but we wanted to see what Sisodia was saying.”
Pooja Soni, a homemaker who lives in Shradhhanand Colony, said the area and markets are congested and roads bad. “We have been raising issues about the landfill and roads, but nobody listens. We want someone to fix our problems.”