Friday, February 07, 2014

Irate residents threw local councillor onto rubbish heap in frustration at build-up of waste

Residents in the north Indian city of Kanpur forced a local councillor onto a rubbish heap in frustration at the build-up of mounds of waste. Manoj Yadav was accosted in Patel Nagar by a group who were angry that overflowing drains and piles of litter had not been cleared for two months. He was thrown onto the heap and held there until he promised to arrange for the authorities to attend to the area.

Residents took matters into their own hands and were removing rubbish and cleaning drains themselves, when Mr Yadav arrived on Tuesday afternoon. "Some people pushed me into the garbage heap, it was wet, and they did not let me come out of it for an hour," he said. "I thought about stripping and jumping into the drain to clean it. But some women from the area intervened and set me free."

Mr Yadav said he was sympathetic to the residents' feelings. "The sweepers would go there, but they wouldn't do any work." Piles of garbage had collected in front of people's homes and they kept growing bigger and bigger, the water from choked drains had begun to enter people's homes," he added. About 100,000 people live in the Patel Nagar area, but there are no formal arrangements to collect waste from people's homes, Mr Yadav says.

Instead, people throw their rubbish by the side of the road and a local authority truck picks it up once or twice a month and dumps it outside the city, he added. A spokesperson for the Kanpur Municipal Corporation, Rajeev Shukla, said the corporation was not responsible for the area, but that it would look into the concerns of the residents.  Mr Yadav has decided not to lodge an official complaint against those who pushed him onto the rubbish heap. "Diseases have begun to spread in Patel Nagar, five people are ill. I promised them I'll do something," he said "I can understand their anger. Also, I have to live with them."

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