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With the Delhi High Court bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar hearing the piling of garbage issue in the MCD area of Delhi as well as across NCR, a host of other illegalities have come to the forefront which the bench said it will address on June 28.

As garbage remains dumped on the roads, as per documentation by several leading media outlets, helping the spread of diseases such as dengue and chikungunya, a status report from the Jehangirpuri Municipal Corporation was tabled on June 27 detailing how a ragpicker was electrocuted by an open electric wire, left exposed due to heavy rainfall.

While the respondent submitted that the road is occupied by unauthorised rickshaw pullers who charge their e-rickshaws illegally with the help of the exposed electric wires, there was no mention of the garbage. While what they have reported is serious enough, it was not pertinent to the moot issue of garbage clearance.

The bench asked: “Is there garbage over there? Did you do anything to clear the garbage?”

The respondent showed some photographs of the area, but those photographs were not of the garbage. The bench observed: “We are concerned about garbage. Garbage cannot be dumped on the roads. The whole of Delhi is under garbage.”

The bench observed: “There is no garbage in the photographs.”

The respondent pointed out: “In the photographs there are rickshaws and they are charging through the electric wire.”

Realizing that it is an important issue, but also pointing out that the current issue being heard is about garbage, the bench said: “We will keep it for tomorrow. But there is no garbage in photographs.”

In another excuse made by an MCD official, it was submitted that there is no disposal system of waste or garbage in the city. The official said: “We dig holes and create pits underground so that we can put garbage as we process it. We generate biogas from the waste which is used in buses, etc. But the problem is scarcity of land in the city.”

The bench said: “Where is your structure of programme? We will provide you the land. Your basic problem is existing garbage. Newspapers are widely reporting the garbage all around the city.”

The MCD official again brought up an important issue. He said: “Another issue is salary, which currently remains unpaid by the government.”

The bench said: “We will do something about the issue of salary.”

The bench addressed Sanjay Ghosh, the additional standing counsel of the Delhi government and said: “Give them money and please tell us how do safai karamcharis get paid?

“It appears that funding is not sufficient to the safai karamcharis. Please come tomorrow with the answers.”

Coming back to the issue at hand, the bench said that garbage is not collected overnight and this is due to the non-working of officials. “How can we regulate the working of sanitary workers?”

The bench suggested some method of biometric attendance. “Please tell us what can be done to put safai karamcharis on continuous basis. We will make this part of the order. There is some lacunae in arranging the rota of safai karamcharis.

“We are intending to arrange the roster for safai karamcharis and post it on the website. Provide us with the report. We also want to start a programme for educating citizens. “The MCD will join the eco clubs in Delhi schools and educate children,” the bench observed.

India Legal Bureau

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