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Delhi landfills are a health hazard: SC

  • The PIL in Supreme Court for devising a strategy to control the spread of vector-borne diseases like dengue and chikungunya opened another front with the apex court seeking answers on solid waste management in the national capital.

    Three land fill sites in the national capital of Delhi – Ghazipur, Bhalaswa and Oklha are overflowing. “People are dying are you aware of that? It is a health hazard…very very serious health hazard”, a bench of justices Madan B Lokur and Adarsh Kumar Goel said while seeking a status report on landfill sites issue by next Friday.

    When Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar said they were taking steps for timely clearance of the garbage, Justice Lokur asked “Everything is fine but after collecting the garbage where do you keep it ? When the judges were told that they are dumped on land fill sites in various parts of the capital, justice Lokur asked “people are dying are you aware of that? It’s a health hazard…very very serious health hazard.

    Delhi government told the court that it was identifying new spots as the present ones had reached saturation On October 7, the court had directed a  meeting of the Chief Minster, heads of civic bodies, chiefs of all relevant agencies tomorrow to devise a strategy to control the spread of vector-borne diseases like dengue and chikungunya and urged all the “stop the blame game”.  “Blame game is the biggest problem. Everybody keeps blaming everybody. We have had enough of blame game”, the bench had said.

    The  bench expressed satisfaction on the fresh affidavit filed by the health minister Satyendar Jain which listed a series of steps government was taking like the use of 300 fogging, fumigation machines, 1000 beds to be increased in three government hospitals, plan to increase the number of mohalla clinics to 1000 by the year end etc.

    But Justice Lokur was angry that the minister had not named the “officials officers reporting to the LG” who were not cooperating and taking responsibility in curbing the diseases. “Why have you not disclosed the name of officials”, the bench asked. In the affidavit Jain has accused his secretary Chandrakar Bharti of dereliction of duty and not taking preventive measures to prevent the outbreak of chikungunya. He claimed Bharti was not available for discussion on several occasions and also disobeyed his request to participate in meetings. Jain said the secretary believed that the Lieutenant Governor and not the minister was the competent authority. He submitted the L-G appointed Bharti as health secretary despite the minister’s request not to do so.

    The previous incumbent, Indian Revenue Service officer, Tarun Seem had undertaken suitable initiatives, he said. But after perusing the affidavit, the bench asked “earlier you said no officer is willing to take responsibility to sign any document. How do we assume this secretary is inimical? You had said officials. Who are they? Why have you not named them ? No this is not what we had asked”. As the number of dengue and chikungunya cases in Delhi skyrocketed, the Supreme Court had on September 26 sought a status report from Delhi government, all three municipal corporations and the NDMC on a PIL which blamed inadequate preventive measures steps for the widespread outbreak of mosquito-borne diseases.
     

    OUR TAKE

    The landfill problem in Delhi has been one which has been dragged on because of the inefficiency of previous and the present government. The problem of these saturated landfill locations gives birth to another menace- that of diseases like chikunguniya and dengue. The city is suffering because of these death-pits where the mosquitoes breed and then spread the diseases. The government should come up with a fool-proof plan to tackle this issue and make sure that the problem is contained before its too late.


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