Another fire renews demand for shifting of KCB garbage depot

PCMC says KCB not responding despite depot being in Air Force's restricted area, board denies charge

The garbage depot of Khadki Cantonment Board — located behind Hotel Kalasagar on Pune-Mumbai highway in Pimpri-Chinchwad — caught fire on Wednesday morning, triggering noxious fumes that swept across several homes in nearby suburbs. The worst-hit were Vallabhnagar and Sant Tukaram Nagar areas where residents complained of breathlessness and headache.

The fire apparently started at 5 in the morning and could be controlled only by 1 in afternoon. PCMC officials said this was the third-of-its-kind fire in less than a year, renewing demand for the shifting of the garbage depot from residents living in Vallabnagar, Shankarwadi, Sant Tukaram Nagar, Kasarwadi and Nashik Phata areas.

Chetan Kachi, a resident, said, "I don't understand the PCMC's logic of allowing a huge garbage depot right in the middle of the city. A garbage depot should be away from the city or on the outskirts. PMC garbage depot is far away from Pune city. Why can't PCMC learn from PMC," he asked.

Usha Iyer, another resident, said,"It is always a health hazard to have a garbage depot located amidst a residential area. The garbage depot is surrounded by vast number of flats, some hotels and industrial units. Besides, the civic-run YCM hospital is just a walking distance from the depot. It indeed does not make sense to have a garbage depot at a location that is harmful for human survival," she said.

PCMC said it has been chasing the KCB for long for shifting of the garbage depot, but the KCB is not responding. "We have held several meetings with KCB officials over the years. Letters have also been sent, but KCB has not been responding positively," said PCMC health officer R B Chavan.

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