Major fire breaks out at Bhagtanwala dump yard

| Trammel machine worth Rs50 lakh damaged | Locals allege private company behind incident

Major fire breaks out at Bhagtanwala dump yard

Trammel machine which was damaged in the fire at Bhagtanwala dumping ground in Amritsar. Vishal Kumar

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 3

A major fire broke out at Bhagtanwala dumping ground on Tuesday evening. A trammel screen machine, which was being used to segregate garbage (bioremediation process) suffered extensive damage.

The Amritsar Municipal Corporation’s officials claimed that machine worth Rs 50 lakh was completely damaged. Workers, who were near the trammel machine had a narrow escape. Some other machines were also on the site, but workers drove them away to a safer place.

Irked residents cornered the MC and the latter claimed that they doused flames with the help of eight fire engines.

Dr Ajay Kanwar, Health Officer, Municipal Corporation, said, “A minor fire broke out in the afternoon. High-speed wind was blowing in the evening, which resulted in major fire. Three fire engines were pressed into the service and fire was controlled after two hours.”

Meanwhile, residents suspected that the solid waste management firm had been burning garbage instead of processing it (as bioremediation is costly affair). Talbir Singh Gill, in-charge, Shiromani Akali Dal, joined locals and protested at the dump yard.

“One can’t breathe, when fire breaks out at the dump yard. It’s not for the first time when fire broke out here. The Congress government promised to shift the dump before the election, but failed. Now, they are befooling residents on the name of bioremediation. The MC is deliberately burning garbage to get rid of it. Local MLA is responsible for all this mess.”

Sanjay Sharma of the Sanjhi Sangharsh Committee said, “We have been demanding to shift the dump yard out of the city. It’s the only solution. We are residing in terrible conditions. The private company set the garbage on fire. The incident should be investigated.”

Dr Kanwar refuted the allegations and said, “It is a well- known fact that decade-old heaps of garbage produce methane gas. It often catches fire. Why will the company set its own machine on fire?”

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