Capital garbage crisis

  • SC rap a lesson for all

Call it a shame on the part of Delhi’s AAP Government or its bad governance, the highest court of the land has to intervene to get the capital city of India cleaned up.

On Friday, the Supreme Court, alarmed by mountains of garbage near landfills in the national seat of political power, pulled up all authorities concerned, including the Arvind Kejriwal’s government, for allowing solid waste to mount and asked them to chalk out a plan to clear it.

The capital city finds itself in the throes of garbage crisis for one reason or the other, often due to strikes by sanitation workers over non-payment of wages or dues. The AAP government, as usual, blames the BJP government for not releasing enough funds to pay the workers whereas the Centre blames the state government for misusing the sanctioned amounts. The mutual blame game, in the process, has generated enough stink to reach the apex court.

Directing the Delhi state government to call a meeting of all stakeholders to resolve the garbage crisis, the Supreme Court wanted to know from the AAP government its garbage clearance plans. “What are your plans to clear garbage. You have to plan for the future. You don’t have to react to a situation,” the court said. It also pulled up the AAP government for trying to defend its MLAs when the state said that legislators should not be involved in sanitation campaign since “it is the job of local bodies.”

“It’s a bully who blames others for problems. Don’t say MLAs have no responsibility in keeping the city clean. You have large number of MLAs and you must ask them to spread awareness about keeping the city clean,” the apex court said, adding, “45 metres of height of garbage in places are alarming … people are dying due to lack of proper disposal of waste.” Citing the outbreak of bird flu, the apex court asked the AAP legislators to work more towards cleaning up Delhi instead of taking salary hikes.

In fact, this is not the first time the Supreme Court has taken up the garbage issue in the interest of common people. Earlier this month, it expressed its concern over the spread of vector-borne diseases in the capital region. Their multiplicity has been blamed on unhygienic conditions and improper disposal or not clearing the garbage.

The national capital is not alone in facing such stinking situations. Almost every metropolitan city has a solid waste problem and rains and strikes aggravate the garbage crisis. The Supreme Court’s observations are not only relevant to Delhi but to every other city in India and to every elected member of Parliament, legislative and civic bodies.

Ironically, we are witnessing the peak of garbage crisis in a city where Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched Swachch Bharat mission two years ago with an avowed aim of creating a clean India by 2019. If we can’t keep the national capital clean, whatever the reasons may be, how can we expect to see the country clean?

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