Rahul Gandhi visits Deonar ground, slams Modi over Swachch Bharat

Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday trained his guns on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his pet 'Swachch Bharat' campaign, alleging 'lack of strategy and vision' in carrying out cleanliness drives as he visited Deonar garbage dumping ground where a series of fire incidents had erupted recently.

Rahul Gandhi at Deonar Dumping ground
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi at Deonar Dumping groung. Pics/ Sayyed Sameer Abedi

"This Prime Minister talks about Swachch Bharat. His government is in power in Mumbai. There is a BJP-Shiv Sena government in Mumbai 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 Swachch Bharat and doing Swachch 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 Swachch Bharat," Gandhi said after meeting people living near the dumping ground.

Rahul Gandhi

The Congress Vice President, who was accompanied by AICC General Secretary in-charge 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. Recently, two massive fires had broken out at the dumping yard, spread over 326 acres, leading to a thick blanket of smog in various parts of Mumbai.

Nirupam had earlier said that Rahul would 'review' Deonar dumping ground situation, which had recently played a havoc for the residents living nearby due to emission of toxic gases due to the fires.

Gandhi would also meet jewellers at Zaveri Bazar (jewellery market) in south Mumbai. Jewellers have been on strike for the last 39 days opposing excise duty on gold jewellery.

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