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Deonar fire: Government to discuss probe panel report

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Terming the fire at Deonar dumping ground in Mumbai as a “serious lapse”, the government today said the two-member probe team has prepared its report and a meeting will be convened soon to discuss it, following which strict action will be taken against those who violated norms.

Deonar fireUnion Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said that the matter has been taken up seriously and following discussions with Maharashtra officials and Mumbai Municipal Corporation, strict action, if required, will be taken under the Environment Protection Act against violators.

“Our team has just prepared the report which is under examination. I will discuss it tomorrow with my officers. Within two days, most probably on March 30, we will call municipal and state officials concerned. Then we will discuss the whole report and ask for a time-bound action plan.

“It is a serious lapse and we have taken it very seriously. We will issue, if required, necessary orders under Section 5 of Environment Protection Act. This means strict action. We will issue directions. They have to comply with it,” said Javadekar.

Asked about reports hinting that the fire was a ‘sabotage’, he said that all such aspects will be discussed during the meeting and action will be taken accordingly.

The Environment Ministry had earlier constituted a two-member team to probe the fire. Javadekar had earlier said that team will submit its report today.

Air quality in several parts of Mumbai had oscillated between ‘poor’ and ‘very poor’ in the wake of the fire. According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the average level of fine respirable pollutants PM 2.5 fell in the ‘poor’ category in Mumbai recently.

A six-month old boy had also died in a locality near Deonar dumping ground with the parents saying he died of suffocation due to emission of toxic gases from the blaze, a charge which had been refuted by officials.

Reports said that even as cooling operations continue at the dumping ground, residents in the area and policemen deployed at the site are facing health issues due to the smoke still emanating out of the dump.

Congress had staged a road blockade recently near the Deonar dumping ground and demanded that it be shifted to Taloja in Navi Mumbai.

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