NEW DELHI: Landfill sites have become a hot cake in the politics of the national capital. Both the BJP and AAP are making tall claims to erase gigantic heaps of garbage from Delhi.
AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal has made this issue the main poll plank. On the other hand, BJP has promised the “End of all landfill garbage sites by the end of 2023”, in its poll manifesto. The Sunday Guardian reached the neighbouring residential area of the Bhalswa landfill site to know what the main issues of people living there are. People of ward no-18, Jahangirpuri, are living deplorable lives. After the delimitation, only four wards are left in the Badali Assembly area and ward no-18 is one of them. The ward is reserved for women candidates and areas like Jahangirpuri Block-I and J, Bhalswa Dairy, Rajiv Nagar, Kalender Colony and Swami Sadanand Park are part of it. According to locals, sanitation is a big issue here, apart from the giant landfill, people are fed up with dirty streets. Sanjay Kumar, who owns a grocery store, has been living in the area for the last two decades. “Sanitation, clean streets and blockage of water are some big issues for us in the area,” Sanjay said. “The prime reason behind dirt in this area is this landfill site,” he added. People in the area also complain that no one from MCD comes frequently to clean the streets. “Earlier MCD sweepers used to come after four to five days and till then, this street becomes hell and the heap of garbage gathers on every corner of the road, but after the announcement of the election, they are coming daily,” a local said.
The sewage system is in very bad shape in ward-18. According to locals, for the last many years, no one has come to clean the drains. Dirty, murky and smelly blocked water was a common scene on every street in the area. The political arena of Ward 18 is witnessing a triangular fight. The BJP has fielded Divya Jha, and AAP has given ticket to Timsy Sharma and from Congress, Sunita Devi is trying her luck.
The BJP is witnessing resentment because of incumbent councillor Vijay Bhagat, who was representing this area in MCD. According to locals, he had never visited the area and because of his negligence, they are living in this condition. According to AAP and Congress candidates, the absence of Vijay Bhagat will benefit them in polls.
Ram Charan, who is in his 70s and retired from a private firm, is a resident of C-Block, Satyanand Park. “We people are living life in hell,” Charan said. According to him, the landfill site is an infinite problem for the people of wards 18 and 19. “For the whole day, it smells and every summer when it burns, it chokes us,” Charan said. Another local complained that a single heavy rain makes this street, flowing sewage.
The Sunday Guardian reached out to AAP candidate Timsy Sharma to know what main issues she is taking up with the public. According to her, the main agenda is to clean the landfill site from this area, “this is like a blot on the neighbourhood”. Apart from this, rejuvenation of parks in the area is also one of her targets, “There are no good parks in the area and none of them is clean,” Timsy said. According to her, there are four schools in the area, which are run by MCD. “If I become a councilor, I will focus on modernizing these schools”
Congress candidate Sunita Devi is confident of her victory. According to her, cleanliness and drainage are the main issues to focus on. “Bhalswa is known for its dairy and daily quintiles of cow and buffalo dung are gathered in the area, this jams drainage too. Finding a solution to this problem is our prime focus,” Sunita Devi said. “We will pressurize the administration to clean the landfill site,” she added.
BJP is aware of anti-incumbency on the ground and according to top party leaders, people are against individuals, not the party. This paper tried to reach the BJP candidate to know how she is fighting anti-incumbency. But calls to get a reaction went unanswered. From the shadow of a gigantic heap of garbage to muddy streets, people are seeking respite from these problems.