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Massive fire breaks out at Ghazipur landfill site, Delhi govt seeks report

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New Delhi, Mar 28: A massive fire broke out at a landfill site in east Delhi's Ghazipur on Monday, leading to a huge cloud of smoke enveloping the region and neighbouring areas. No casualty has been reported, a fire department official said.

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A senior fire department official said the blaze has been brought under control.

"The fire is in the garbage mound and that makes it harder to douse. We cannot take the fire tenders upwards. The spot is vertically located and the water comes down when we spray it on the fire, which makes the task difficult.

"A total of 50 fire personnel along with 10 fire tenders are working at the spot," he said.

Earlier, Chief Fire Officer Atul Garg said it may take a few more hours to douse the fire completely.

Garg told PTI that the cause of fire is yet to be ascertained.

According to the fire department, a call was received around 2:30 pm about the fire in Khaata at Ghazipur.

A thick blanket of smoke covered the section of the dumping yard where the fire broke out.

According to data shared by the fire department, a total of four fire incidents at landfill sites - two each at Bhalswa and Tughlakabad - took place till Sunday this year. Last year, during the same period, a total of 16 fire incidents - 12 at Bhalswa and four at Ghazipur - took place.

In 2020, a total of 15 such incidents were reported and 37 were reported in 2019, the data stated.

East Delhi Municipal Corporation's (EDMC) standing committee chairman Beer Singh Panwar said the fire was caused due to "high temperature" as plastic is one of the major components of the legacy waste and methane keeps getting generated.

He said the EDMC has deployed 22 bulldozers to help in the process of dousing the fire.

Meanwhile, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai directed the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to submit a report on the incident within 24 hours.

In April last year, the DPCC had imposed a fine of Rs 40 lakh on the EDMC after a fire broke out at the Ghazipur landfill site.

Attacking the BJP over the latest fire incident, senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Atishi tweeted, "Now that MCD has been brought directly under the Central Govt, maybe PM @narendramodi and Home Minister @AmitShah will care to tell us how they plan to deal with the crisis of the Ghazipur garbage mountain!" Last week, the central government had tabled a bill to unify all the three civic bodies in Delhi, saying the 2011 trifurcation of the erstwhile Municipal Corporation of Delhi was "uneven" in terms of territorial divisions and revenue generating potential.

According to the EDMC's plan, the giant mound is planned to be remediated by 2024. The civic body is in the process of floating a tender for processing 50 lakh MT waste from the landfill.

Fires at the Ghazipur landfill are known to worsen pollution levels in the area.

Such incidents had been reported in the past too, indicating "a lack of measures taken and vigilance observed by the EDMC to prevent such episodes", an official said.

AAP MLA Kuldeep Kumar raised the latest fire at the Ghazipur landfill during the ongoing budget session of the Delhi Assembly and demanded action against the guilty officials.

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