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Garbage burning irks residents, hits tourism industry in holy city

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Tribune News Service

Charanjit Singh Teja

Amritsar, May 12

Garbage heaps at the Bhagtanwala dumping ground are smouldering. Another fire broke out at a garbage heap lying on a vacant plot in front of the Red Cross office on Old Jail Road last night. Dense smoke emanating from the burning garbage and low visibility irked residents of Ajnala Road, Ranjit Avenue and Old Jail Road. At the Bhagtanwala dump, smoke is still emanating from the garbage. Residents of the areas surrounding the dump have complained of respiratory issues. Visitors at the Golden Temple, which is one-and-a-half-kilometre away from the dump, expressed concern over pollution in the city. The high pollution level is also affecting tourism industry in the holy city. The people from tourism sector claimed that the poor air quality and scattered garbage irked tourists.

Gurinder Singh Johal, who works as a guide in the city said, “Amritsar has turned into a polluted city. The pollution level in the city is so high that tourists, including foreigners and locals, who come from Hyderabad, Mumbai and Bangalore, do not feel good. They dislike the city because of dirt and garbage lying around. The emission from auto-rickshaws and diesel vehicles has made the things worse.”

“The fire at the Bhagtanwala dump has worsened the air quality in last few days. Neither the municipal corporation nor the government is serious about tackling the pollution in the city. Such kind of negligence will ruin the tourism industry in the city,” said Johal.

Pawandeep Sharma, a social activist, has raised questions over the working of the MC. Sharma said it was the negligence of the Deputy Commissioner, MC Commissioner and heads of all government agencies, who allow garbage burning in the residential areas.

He said, “People are suffering from diseases due to pollution in the city and administration is responsible for it. No candidate of any political party has shown concern about pollution in the city. Besides, the MC staff burns garbage. Criminal cases should be registered for such negligence.”

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