Concluding that the fire at Deonar dumping ground was an act of “mischief”, Additional Commissioner of Police Manoj Lohia submitted an interim report last week.
Chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis had sought a report on the fire that swept through the biggest dumping facility in the city for nearly five days causing toxic pollution that raised health concerns for the citizens.
When the fire broke out on January 28, the Air Quality Index (AQI), as recorded by System of Air-quality-weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) was at par with air quality levels of Delhi. Air quality fell in the “very poor” category, showing heavy pollutants in the air, including particulate matter, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide.
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The CM had sought a report within a fortnight and had set a deadline of February 5.
While the interim report was submitted last week, a detailed report is likely to be submitted by the end of this month.
According to sources, the report submitted last week states that the fire could be an “act of mischief” either by ragpickers or local contractors.
It mentions that the fire could have been started by ragpickers who might be on the lookout for metal after burning waste or by a contractor to clear the space to accommodate more waste, thereby making money on the waste dumped at the facility.
However, it does not conclude who set the dump on fire.
A detailed report is likely to follow that will elucidate the cause and motive behind the blaze that sparked major pollution concerns.
Owing to the blaze, a thick smog was seen as far as Majid in South Mumbai.
“After the incident, an enquiry was ordered by the CM on the entire episode. Lohia was assigned with the task of looking into the case and heading the enquiry. An interim report concluding that the episode was an act of mischief was submitted to the Police Chief DD Padsalgikar last week.The enquiry has ruled it out as a case of sabotage,” a senior official said.
“A detailed report is awaited to ascertain on whose part the mischief lies,” added the official.
Statements of various stakeholders were recorded while preparing the report.
The police had called for BMC contracts dating back from 2009 to study them.
The contract was to end on January 31 and the police were probing whether any rival contractors bidding for the contract were involved.