An “alarming” situation prevails in Delhi as the garbage mounds near three landfill sites here are “like Qutub Minar”, the Supreme Court today said as it rapped the Delhi government for not doing enough to dispose of the huge quantity of waste.
It also asked the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators to create awareness about garbage disposal among the people here.
“Garbage mounds near landfill sites are above 45 metres.
These are almost like towers as like Qutub Minar. Height of Qutub Minar is 73 metres and these mounds are more than half the size. It’s an alarming situation. Who is going to deal with it? You (government) have to deal with the problem,” a bench of Justices M B Lokur and Adarsh Kumar Goel said.
The observations came when Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar appearing for Delhi Chief Secretary pointed out that near three landfill sites at Okhla, Gazipur and Bhalswa, there are garbage mounds of the height of 45 metres.
The bench asked Delhi government standing counsel Rahul Mehra that the AAP had MLAs across Delhi who could create awareness among the people about garbage disposal.
Mehra said the MLAs have to look after several other responsibilities including construction of drains, sewers and roads in their constitutencies and asking them to create awareness was “just too much”.
“Don’t say that. It has to start from home. Your MLAs, your elected representatives, they should sensitise the people. Don’t say that MLAs do not have responsibilities,” the bench said.
Mehra contended that garbage collection and disposal was the work of local bodies and not the lawmakers.
“It’s a bully who blames others for every problems. You are just blaming everybody. Don’t say MLAs do not have any responsibility to keep the city clean,” the bench said.
The court while directing that MLAs of Okhla, Gazipur and Bhalswa areas to attend meetings with all stakeholders, also enquired about how much amount does each MLA get for local area development. It was informed that each MLA got Rs 4 crore as local area development fund.
The bench asked the Delhi government that it should be ready for future eventualities and not take measures only when the problem arose.
“You have to be ready for the situation. Now that avian flu cases are being reported, Deer Park has been closed.
Dengue and Chikungunya cases are now low. You have to be ready for all situations,” the bench said.
The bench said that Delhi government should not react only to a situation, but plans and preparedness should reflect the future.
The Solicitor General assured the bench and said that things were happening and garbage was being disposed of through waste-to-energy plants.
He said that at Okhla, waste-to-energy plant has been setup and 16 MW of power was being produced from waste. Within one months, things will improve, he said.
The bench said the Centre for Science and Environment, headed by environmentalist Sunita Narain, has done a good study on the issue which should be looked into by the Delhi government.
The apex court directed that a meeting of stakeholders in which MLAs of the areas where three landfill sites are situated should be chaired by Chief Secretary of Delhi.
On October 17, the court had expressed concern over garbage dumped at landfill sites and said that “people are dying” due to lack of proper disposal of waste.
On October 6, the apex court had criticised the authorities over the handling of dengue and chikungunya menace in Delhi and observed that they here were “not interested” and the people have been “left to suffer”.
The apex court had also expressed disappointment over the outcome of October 5 meeting between the LG, CM and others on curbing vector-borne diseases like dengue and chikungunya and had asked them to hold another meeting on October 6.
The bench had directed that participants should discuss the steps to be taken to prevent the problem faced by people of Delhi this year and also the future measures.
The apex court had on October 3 imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on Delhi health minister Satyendra Jain for failing to file an affidavit disclosing names of officials whom he had alleged of not cooperating in checking the menace of dengue and chikungunya in Delhi.
It had earlier taken suo motu cognisance of the death of a seven-year-old boy due to dengue last year after being allegedly denied treatment by five private hospitals and the subsequent suicide by his parents.
The five hospitals — Max hospital in Saket, Moolchand Khairatiram Hospital in Lajpat Nagar, Aakash Hospital in Malviya Nagar, Saket City Hospital and Irene Hospital, Kalkaji, were issued show cause notices to explain why their registration should not be cancelled for allegedly refusing to admit the boy.