AFTER alleging sabotage in the various fires that have erupted in the Deonar dumping ground in the last two months, the BMC will be revoking the licences of 3,000 ragpickers Thursday. About two weeks after the last big fire started in the ground, the dumping of garbage, which had been stopped for the firefighting operation, resumed Wednesday.
At a meeting of the BMC and the police commissioner Tuesday, the decision to take penal action against ragpickers who continue to enter the dumpyard was taken. “We had posted a notice at the entrance of the Deonar dumping ground informing the ragpickers about the cancellation of their licences. We also asked them to tell their objections, to which we received no response. The police will book ragpickers for trespassing from Thursday onwards,” said a senior official from the solid waste management department.
In a statement made to the standing committee earlier, Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta had said there would be no free access for unauthorised personnel inside Deonar dumpyard. Mehta and Additional Municipal Commissioner Sanjay Mukherjee attended a meeting with the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests in New Delhi Wednesday. Expressing disapproval over the manner in which the BMC has managed the situation, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar asked the BMC to submit within 10 days a plan on long-term, mid- term and small-term measures to be taken. Speaking on poor percentage of the waste being segregated, Javadekar said, “Only 15 per cent of Mumbai’s waste is being segregated and the situation didn’t get the kind of attention it deserves since the recommendations for waste management made by the committee set up by the Centre have not been followed.” He added that the environment ministry would be conducting a quarterly review of BMC plan progress.
Javadekar said the work of shutting Mulund dumyard was under process and tenders would be floated in 15 days. “Around 1.2 crore MT of garbage is deposited at Deonar dumpyard. We have advised the BMC to not look at the issue in small parts and there was a need of an integrated waste-management solution,” he said. Commending the bio-methanalisation project at Kanjur dumpyard, Javadekar said the ministry would grant CRZ permission for more land to process garbage.