New Delhi, Nov 23 (PTI) Residents of two Delhi neighbourhoods who recently witnessed bulldozers rumbling down their colonies have alleged the municipal corporation had been off the mark in its performance when it comes to garbage management, with many complaining that the anti-encroachment drive selectively targeted a particular community.
The allegations come ahead of elections to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) on December 4.
"The MCD has been running an agenda to disturb the people of Shaheen Bagh," Sohail, a 52-year-old store owner at Shaheen Bagh market told PTI, referring to the South Delhi Municipal Corporation's anti-encroachment drive in May when bulldozers rolled into the neighbourhood with police cover before returning without conducting the exercise.
Shaheen Bagh had been the epicentre of the anti-CAA/NRC movement from late 2019 to early 2020.
Sohail claimed that the civic body had failed in its primary job of keeping the area clean and resorted to "harassing residents".
Bir Pal, another Shaheen Bagh resident, said on the anti-encroachment drives, "The MCD harasses us time and again. Sometimes they take our stalls away, sometimes they impose fines on us." Nadeem Mallick, a salesman at a factory price shop in Shaheen Bagh, alleged that the MCD had not done anything notable in the last 5-10 years.
"On occasions, they clear out the garbage just for the sake of clicking pictures and publicity. These areas are not cleaned on time," Mallick said.
However, some other residents said they were satisfied with the civic body's work.
"The MCD has done its job and I am satisfied with that," said Mohammad Siraj, a garage owner at Shaheen Bagh.
The North Delhi Municipal Corporation had also received flak for carrying out a demolition drive in northwest Delhi's Jahangirpuri.
Bulldozers razed several structures in the area as part of an anti-encroachment drive in April. The exercise continued for one-and-a-half hours even after a Supreme Court directive to stop it.
Jahangirpuri had witnessed clashes between two communities during a Hanuman Jayanti procession in early April, leaving eight police personnel and a local resident injured.
Speaking to PTI, Jahangirpuri residents said lack of cleanliness and garbage menace were the key problems that they had been facing for several years.
"There is major garbage mismanagement in Jahangirpuri. Politicians are visiting door-to-door for votes but once the polls are over, they will shrug the responsibilities. This has been happening for the last 10 years," 62-year-old Jahangirpuri resident Mohammad Munna told PTI.
Pointing to water stagnating at the entrance of her home, 58-year-old Asifa Bibi said the issue of clogged drains had been brought to the notice of authorities several times but they were "neglected".
"Clogged drains result in water stagnation at the entrance of homes and this has been the situation for the past one month. Despite raising it with the authorities multiple times, they didn't bother to clean the area," Asifa told PTI.
Zameer Ahmed (70), another local resident, said parts of Jahangirpuri had always been polluted and claimed that even garbage was not collected on time.
He further said one of his sons had to be hospitalised after contracting dengue due to the mosquito menace in the area.
"There's garbage everywhere. This area has always been polluted and the garbage is not collected on time... There is a mosquito menace here and one of my sons had to be admitted in hospital because of dengue just a few weeks ago," he said.
The AAP has latched on to the issue of "garbage mismanagement" in the civic body during the BJP's 15-year governance of the civic body ahead of the elections. Last week, it launched campaign vehicles with miniature models of Delhi's three landfill sites to highlight the BJP's "garbage mismanagement".
The BJP has been in power in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) -- trifurcated in 2012 into north, south and east corporations and then unified this year -- for three straight terms.
Former North Delhi mayor Jai Prakash, however, countered the AAP plank and said the BJP-led MCD had been working on sanitation issues -- from door-to-door garbage collection to reducing the heights of the three landfill sites, besides a long-term plan for overall remediation of the three (landfill) sites.
He also alleged that the AAP-led Delhi government had not provided funds to the MCD and "shirked away" from its responsibility of municipal waste management. PTI ABU SZM