Dump yard fire worry for corporation

ON FIRE: The Bhuasuni dumping yard. Picture by Ashwinee Pati

Bhubaneswar: The Bhuasuni dumping yard has returned to haunt the civic body with repeated incidents of fire triggering fear of a major accident among those living in its vicinity.

A major fire broke out at the dumping yard earlier this week, following which the Odisha State Pollution Control Board cracked the whip on the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation. It has slapped a fine of Rs 25,000 on the civic body. The problem did not end there as another fire broke out at the yard on Wednesday.

Earlier, the board had notified that burning any solid waste materials in pubic or in the open was a violation of solid waste management norms. Anyone found violating the norms would be penalised. In case of small amount of garbage, the penalty is Rs 5,000, while in case of a bulk waste it is Rs 25,000.

The board sources said they received a complaint from local villagers that the civic body had set on fire huge amount of garbage at the dumping yard.

"We acted on the basis of the complaint and slapped the notice on the corporation since they are responsible to tackle any such incident," said a board official.

Civic body officials, however, claimed that they had not set the garbage on fire and it was the act of the local rag pickers. It has also lodged a police complaint regarding the incident. "We have engaged three water tankers and four cesspool vehicles for the past five days to douse the fire at the dumping yard," said an official.

The corporation on Thursday, through an official statement, stated that their officials were monitoring the situation.

The mishap had been reported some days ago. Some criminals are behind the incident. They want to create panic in and around the site, which is the ultimate destination for the municipal solid waste, stated the statement.

Local villagers said the criminals were knowingly doing mischief to provoke those living here. Rag pickers, who come to the yard to collect valuables from the waste, are also throwing butts of cigarettes and beedis causing fire, it stated.

The civic body will develop a waste-to-energy plant at the yard that will help it maintain a clean environment. However, the local villagers have been opposing the move since the past few years. In 2015, the villagers had locked the yard. They had also sought the intervention of the National Green Tribunal and Orissa High Court among others.

"We want to maintain a clean and green city. The waste-to-energy plant at the yard will not only help manage the waste in a better manner, but also create employment opportunity for the local people. Some people are provoking the villagers," said mayor Ananta Narayan Jena.


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