The National Green Tribunal today came down heavily on the AAP government and the East Delhi Municipal Corporation over the Ghazipur landfill collapse in which two persons were killed, saying "nothing can be more humiliating than people being killed under garbage hill.
The green panel issued notices to them while directing them to show cause why punitive action be not taken against the Delhi government and criminal proceedings be not initiated against erring EDMC officials over the "unfortunate" incident.
"Why did you not carry out the directions of the tribunal which have been issued time and again? Are people of Delhi expected to meet this fate? Are they supposed to die under a garbage dump? We had asked you to reduce the height of the dump and take appropriate measures for reduction of the waste. Why didn't you do it?
"It is unfortunate that in capital of country the people have stated to be died under the garbage hill because of improper, unscientific and indiscriminate dumping of municipal solid waste at this site. You are killing people in the national capital under the hill of garbage. It cannot be more humiliating," a bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar said.
The tribunal said civic bodies and authorities concerned have violated orders of the tribunal on reduction of dumped waste and took no "collective" steps to ensure that garbage was "processed, segregated and compressed" without delay.
"Why should tribunal not award compensation to the family of the persons who died as a result of this unfortunate incident which resulted from sheer negligence of authorities," the bench, also comprising Justice R S Rathore, said and posted the matter for hearing on September 12.
It also issued notice to the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to show cause why it has not started lifting segregated waste despite specific direction of the tribunal.
EDMC lawyer Balendu Shekhar said the corporation had already moved a plea seeking allotment of land to develop sanitary landfills to handle municipal solid waste.
He said there was an immediate requirement of alternate land as the Ghazipur landfill site which handles 13 metric tonnes (MT) of waste has outlived its normal life span.
The Delhi Development Authority was also issued notice by the bench and explain why the appropriate site has not been given to the corporations for the dumping of the waste.
The green body directed all the municipal corporations to submit within a week an action plan to show what immediate steps were being taken to restore the site at Ghazipur and other landfill sites in the city.
A portion of the 45m high garbage dump in east Delhi's Ghazipur collapsed on September 1 because of heavy rain, killing two people and pushing a car and three two wheelers off the road and into a canal.
According to EDMC officials, which manages the landfill site that was started in 1984 and is spread over 29 acres, the site was saturated in 2002 only, and the civic body had been "looking for an alternative site for long time".
According to officials, the permissible height for a garbage dump is 20 m. Every day, 2,500-3000 metric tonnes of garbage are dumped at the Ghazipur site.
The humongous heap sits like a Leviathan, with eagles and crows circling even as the stench from the mountain of trash fills the air.
In the wake of the accident, Lt Governor Anil Baijal had also imposed a ban on dumping of garbage at the Ghazipur landfill site and the waste meant for it was diverted to a temporary site in Ranikhera near the Delhi-Haryana border.