He was detained by the cops after he set fire to the trash when neighbours objected to him bringing more; having studied law, he says garbage is valuable and there is no law to prevent him from storing it at home
While everyone is busy cleaning up their surroundings encouraged by the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan’, one man in Kandivli has been busy with his own ‘Aswachh Abhiyaan’. Police detained the 45-year-old man on Thursday for storing almost 20 tonnes of garbage at his house in Kandivli. Police said the fellow residents of the housing society had barred him from entering the premises with garbage that he collects. Frustrated with the curbs on his freedom, he set the waste in his house on fire. He was released with a warning on Friday morning.
The man, Prakash Khimani, has studied law but worked in a different field. He stays at Om Shyam Sarjit society at Mathuradas Road in Kandivli (West).
On Thursday at 9 pm, police said Khimani entered the society with garbage which he collects from the road side. The drama began when some society members prevented him from taking the waste home; they also allegedly beat him up. Khimani managed to run to his home on the ground floor and set fire to the garbage inside. He warned them that if they take action against him, he would also blow up the gas cylinder in his house. He then locked himself up in the bathroom.
Residents informed the police and fire brigade, who managed to control the fire in an hour. Fire brigade personnel also brought Khimani out of the bathroom and asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials to do something about the piles of garbage.
Khimani told mid-day, “I collect garbage from the roads and store it in my home. Garbage is not waste; it has value. There is no law to prevent me from storing it in my house.”
Police said Khimani quit his job three years back and began to collect garbage from the roads. They found papers, steel and iron rods, plastic, chocolate wrappers, babies’ diapers, bottles and many other objects in his house.
Other residents claimed that in the past three years, they had complained to the Kandivli police about Khimani’s obsession many times, but no action was taken.
Raju Pandya, his next door neighbour, said, “We blocked our main door because of Khimani’s garbage. We began to use a door that connects to our balcony as our main door. The smell was awful and rats and insects from the garbage had begun to trouble us. We were facing many problems because of the garbage, but the police and BMC did not take any action against him.”
Khimani has been staying with his sister, but neighbours told this paper they haven’t seen her for the past three months and know nothing of her whereabouts.
Khimani, meanwhile, continued to bring in more garbage in this period.
Neighbours say he and his sister are very friendly and polite. But when it comes to garbage, he turns into a different person. He even advises them on where to sell old papers, bottles, etc, and get a good price for them.
Residents say he went to his house after police released him on Friday morning, saw that it had been cleaned by the BMC, and has not been seen since.
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