Monday, 22 October 2012

Maharaja Ranjit Singh summer palace a dumping ground

The burnt garbage at the historic Company Bagh in Amritsar speaks volumes about the apathy of the authorities.

Even as Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal intends to transform Amritsar into a heritage-look city, the holy city’s heritage sites have been turning into garbage yards.

This is courtesy the MC authorities, who have turned a blind eye to this menace, particularly at the summer palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh for which crores are being spent by the government on its preservation.

The inner side of the boundary walls, which were painted recently, have turned black due to smoke. Similarly, the burnt leaves of some rare plants testify to the repeated burning of garbage at the site.

The issue was brought to the notice of the authorities umpteen times but in vain. It is an irony that the MC’s own sanitary staff was spotted burning the garbage piled in the corners of this Bagh.

Ironically, Mayor Bakshi Ram Arora’s new office is located on the Panorama located within the Bagh. He passes through this stretch daily to attend his pre-lunch session with the MC officials, but the dismal state of affairs prevailing in the bagh could never catch his fancy.

The residents who stroll here in the mornings and evenings complain that they come to the Bagh to breathe fresh air, but it is otherway round. “The MC men routinely burn the garbage in the Bagh, not realising the damage they cause to the environment. We have questioned them many a time but they do not listen to our pleas,” said a resident.

There are three clubs running from this premises which churn out tonnes of kitchen refuse daily. The club staff have been noticed many times throwing the garbage in the Bagh itself instead of making efforts to dump it at some proper place.

The situation is worsened by the private garbage-lifting hands, who have been engaged by the MC after the officially engaged garbage collection firm Antony Waste Handling Private company withdrew its machinery due to the non-payment of its dues.

Nevertheless, the MC had engaged tractor-trolley contractors to lift the city garbage. Each garbage collector is supposed to make at least three rounds to transport the garbage to the designated dumping site at Bhaktanwala daily. They try to finish it off in just one round by dumping the garbage somewhere nearby and set it ablaze to dispose it of.

“They do it just to save the fuel. I, myself, have caught them on many occasions, but I didn’t pursue further because I know that no action would be taken against them. Rather, it would back-fire on me only,” said a senior-level MC official, preferring anonymity.

It has been noted that in the absence of any check on them, the sweepers in various localities too adopt this practice.

The residents complained that it was a routine exercise of the MC’s safai karamcharis who collect the refuse from the adjoining shops or whatever filth scattered on the roads and dump it in the Company Bagh.

GS Paul
Tribune News Service, Amritsar, October 21


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