Residents of Kanjurmarg feel like Jews in Hitler’s torture chambers. This strong sentiment was voiced by residents during a protest held on Monday against the dumping ground in the eastern suburb.
The locals, who were led by public representatives of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), alleged poor waste disposal by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. Dumping of waste on this dump yard began in March this year.
Speaking to DNA on the sidelines of a mundan protest called by his party to stress for complete closure of the dumping ground, MNS legislator Mangesh Sangale, who led the demonstration, said, “Like Hitler killed Jews inside gas chambers, people from Kanjurmarg, Bhandup and especially those from Kannamwar Nagar in Vikhroli are being left to suffocate due to the dumping ground, which has been imposed upon the public,” said Sangale, adding that he has received several complaints relating to health issues from children and senior citizens.
Sangale, who was accompanied by senior party legislator Shishir Shinde and the party’s general secretary Shirish Sawant, reiterated commencing a dumping ground was in violation of Supreme Court orders and environment department’s norms.
Pointing to a norm specified in the Municipal Solid Waste Act, 2000 that dumping ground has to be 500m away from city limits, he said, “How has a ground been allotted to dump waste in the middle of the city and that too within coastal regulation zone 1 stretch?”
The agitators demanded shifting of the dump yard outside city limits in Thane district where the state has allotted land to MMRDA.
Around 200 protesters blocked the Eastern Express Highway, holding up traffic for a brief period. However, the police immediately detained the protesters, including Sangale, Shinde and Sawant, ensuring smooth traffic flow.
Civic officials refuted claims of violation of norms and declined the possibility of closure of the facility. “We understand the contractor (Anthony Lara Envriotech Ltd) entrusted with the responsibility is doing a poor job leading to the issues. But, we have taken serious note of the same and a parallel mechanism of spraying at the ground will be worked out,” additional municipal commissioner Mohan Adtani said after hearing locals and public representatives during a meeting chaired by mayor Sunil Prabhu at the civic headquarters.
Following protests, the BMC has said garbage will be dumped somewhere else up to two weeks until the lacunae are fixed.
Meanwhile, minister of state for urban development, Bhaskar Jadhav, said he would hold a meeting with MMRDA commissioner Rahul Asthana and municipal chief Sitaram Kunte to discuss the issue.