For the past three days fire-fighters are battling flames at the Deonar dumping grounds in Mumbai.
It was at around 1.40 PM on Saturday that a fire engulfed the dumping ground.
Despite the relentless efforts of the fire-fighters, the blaze has not completely doused off. Reports state that around eight fire engines and 10 water tankers are at the spot trying their best to contain the fire. The Deonar dump is as tall as an 18-storey building and is close to Chembur, Sion and Navi Mumbai area of Mumbai.
This is what authorities have to say:
- Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner Ajoy Mehta claims that the fire could have been a result of sabotage, and said that an FIR has been registered in this regard.
- But Minister of State for Environment and Forests Prakash Javadekar blamed it on the negligence of those in charge of managing the dump yard. The Minister is sending a special two-member team to investigate the matter today.
- A blame game is on between the NCP and the Shiv Sena, which controls the BMC. The former is accusing the latter for the Deonar incident while the latter claims that the former is trying to indulge in a smear campaign ahead of BMC elections.
Whatsoever be the reason and whosoever is responsible, the fumes have resulted in a thick smog that has covered a part of Mumbai.
People of Deonar are breathing the toxic fumes for the past three days. And the fact that it is not the first time that such an incident happened points at the laxity of authorities.
A fire had broken out at the Deonar dump yard site, which is spread in an area of 326 acres, in January this year. It had forced the shutting down of 74 schools around the site.
This is a photo of Mumbai taken by a NASA satellite during the January fire:
And this is what Mumbai looks like today as the battle against the raging fire continues while a thick cloud of toxic fumes engulfs a part of the city.
Residents of the neighbourhoods around the site have on previous occasions complained about frequent fires at the dumping ground. And despite a High Court order listing out guidelines including setting up of CCTV cameras and erecting a fence around the ground, much is yet to be done