Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday over his “Swachh Bharat” campaign, alleging “lack of strategy and vision” in carrying out cleanliness drives as he visited the Deonar garbage dumping ground in Mumbai.
Two fires had broken out at the Deonar dumping yard, spread over 326 acres, leading to a thick blanket of smog in various parts of Mumbai.
“This Prime Minister talks about Swachh Bharat. His government is in power here. There is a BJP-Shiv Sena government here and there is cooperation between them… So either the Prime Minister or the chief minister should do something. They should take action.”
“This dumping ground should be closed down and some strategy must be found out (to resolve the issue). Only talking of Swachh Bharat and doing Swachh Bharat are two different things. It is a sad affair,” he told reporters in Mumbai.
“I feel there is no strategy here. There is no vision how to clean it though they have definitely given a slogan of Swachh Bharat,” Gandhi said after meeting people living near the dumping ground.
The Congress vice-president, who was accompanied by AICC generala-secretary incharge for Maharashtra Mohan Prakash and Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) chief Sanjay Nirupam, said he went there as party leaders wanted him to see the situation himself.
I met the citizens here. One person was weeping. This (dumping ground) is damaging people. There is pollution here. Children are contracting tuberculosis. One child has also died,” he said.
Gandhi said it is now up to the Prime Minister and the state government to work out a plan to clean this area.
“Mumbai is a symbol of India, a symbol of progress and there should not be such a dumping ground,” he said.
Nirupam had earlier said that Rahul Gandhi will “review” the Deonar dumping ground, which releases toxic gas emissions due to fires.
Gandhi would also meet jewellers at Zaveri Bazar (jewellery market) in south Mumbai. Jewellers have been on a strike for the last 39 days, opposing excise duty on gold jewellery.