Wait for a white Christmas in ‘garbage queen’ city

None of the feel good articles in the media has been able to cheer up the spirits of Shimla residents when it comes to the talk of a white Christmas. It was 19 years back when Shimla last woke up to a white Christmas. White Christmas in Shimla now seems to be a bed time fairy-tale to be told to our children!!

The snow cycle has already shifted from early December to mid January and the pace with which we are ‘progressing’, the snow all together will stop visiting Shimla in the coming years. Previous winters was an indication of the times to come when it did not snow at all.

White Christmas or not, Shimla gets ready for tourists’ screamed a headline from a daily. Christmas in Shimla was always white as the elders in the city recall. But in the past twenty years the city has changed a lot. So much so, that in my 35 years of existence in the city, the changes marked in the past two decades are remarkable! New colonies and townships appeared paving way for a large scale dis- appearing of the green cover, a construction boom and huge jump in the city population. Like everything the govt. plans, Shimla was allowed to expand without any thought given to create infrastructure in the city.

The lucky ones get water third day in summers in Shimla. The unlucky ones do not get at all. There is no space to walk on roads. There is no place to park the vehicles. There is no place for children to play.

The city which was once crowned as  the ‘Queen of Hills’ got re-christened as the ‘Garbage Queen’.

shimla garbage fire 2009

It took  three days, 10 fire engines and a High Court order to control the ‘garbage fire’ in the city. The municipal commissioner, Shimla was quoted as:

“The toxic gaseous emissions from the waste polythene, buried as deep as 300 metres, are harmful. I have gone through first-hand experience of its effect on the health. I stood there for hours.”

For the record, he supervised the fire extinguishing operation for 11 hours

What he did not say, it was only after the High Court gave him a 24 hour ultimatum that everyone at the MC rushed down to the ‘Darni ka Bageecha’ to douse the flames.

For a moment one may ask who runs Shimla city? Is it the Government, the MC or the courts?? The High Court had earlier intervened to streamline the parking problem in the city too. Can the Court ask our city fathers how the snow capped mountains turned into big garbage dumps?

As I write this article, I feel like I am writing obituary of Shimla. All that is left now is to bury the city.

DD Shimla will telecast a 30 minutes film, For Whom The Jingle Bells Toll at 7.30 pm  on Friday, Dec 25. The film has been directed by National award-winning film maker Vivek Mohan who also happens to be a Shimla resident . It revolves around seeking answer to a simple question, will it be a white Christmas ever?

Wishing all readers a Merry Christmas, and hoping Shimlaites have something to ‘cheer’ tomorrow, after inhaling the garbage fumes throughout the week.

Do let us know your thoughts and feedback.

Pic courtesy: The Indian Express

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9 Responses to "Wait for a white Christmas in ‘garbage queen’ city"

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Wait for a White Christmas in Garbage Queen city of Shimla | Himachal Live -- Topsy.com

  2. VarunM   December 25, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    I think the High Court acted as the fumes would most likely have been coming through its windows from below. 🙂

    AS for the smell, while going through bypass even if all the windows of bus are closed its unreal.
    And i am sure that this particular dump takes no concern about the ground water.
    Saw an excellent program on Discovery sometime back where the garbage dump site is first paved with plastic/non-porous layer to prevent garbage fluids mixing with ground water then they put pipes in it to extract methane that powered a nearby car factory.
    Maybe people in power were too busy watching movies rather than Discovery to care.

    Reply
    • NITYIN   December 25, 2009 at 1:36 pm

      Great feedback Varun! Now see our MC. There is no qualified technical personal who would understand what you are talking about. The commissioner is a IAS and the mayor and the councilors are all political people. The otherwise supposed to be technical staff comes here on deputation from other departments whose sole concern is to stay in Shimla. Most of these are not qualified as they are promoted on basis of their seniority and not on any technical qualifications.

      Shimla is just waiting for a Surat like tragedy to wake from it’s slumber!

      Reply
  3. VarunM   December 25, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    I think the High Court acted as the fumes would most likely have been coming through its windows from below. 🙂

    AS for the smell, while going through bypass even if all the windows of bus are closed its unreal.
    And i am sure that this particular dump takes no concern about the ground water.
    Saw an excellent program on Discovery sometime back where the garbage dump site is first paved with plastic/non-porous layer to prevent garbage fluids mixing with ground water then they put pipes in it to extract methane that powered a nearby car factory.
    Maybe people in power were too busy watching movies rather than Discovery to care.

    Reply
    • NITYIN   December 25, 2009 at 6:36 pm

      Great feedback Varun! Now see our MC. There is no qualified technical personal who would understand what you are talking about. The commissioner is a IAS and the mayor and the councilors are all political people. The otherwise supposed to be technical staff comes here on deputation from other departments whose sole concern is to stay in Shimla. Most of these are not qualified as they are promoted on basis of their seniority and not on any technical qualifications.

      Shimla is just waiting for a Surat like tragedy to wake from it’s slumber!

      Reply
  4. kotgarh   December 27, 2009 at 8:38 am

    It’s a shame that we are announcing death of ‘The Hill Queen’. It would live even after we intellectual mortals are gone – thought it might mock us for defacing it. Climate change is inevitable and irreversible and the responsibility has to be shared equally by everyone – we should not only blame the administration for the fiasco.

    A cradle to grave approach should be adopted for waste management ensuring disposal happen using modern sensible methods. Today’s green journals are replete with sane advice on how to reduce carbon footprints and how an individual can contribute… hope some of us read them. The plume of greed has enveloped most of us – hope the fire has been doused.
    .-= kotgarh´s last blog ..Morning of Seasons Second Snowfall – Dec 14th, 2009 [Kotgarh – Batnal – Narkanda] =-.

    Reply
  5. kotgarh   December 27, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    It’s a shame that we are announcing death of ‘The Hill Queen’. It would live even after we intellectual mortals are gone – thought it might mock us for defacing it. Climate change is inevitable and irreversible and the responsibility has to be shared equally by everyone – we should not only blame the administration for the fiasco.

    A cradle to grave approach should be adopted for waste management ensuring disposal happen using modern sensible methods. Today’s green journals are replete with sane advice on how to reduce carbon footprints and how an individual can contribute… hope some of us read them. The plume of greed has enveloped most of us – hope the fire has been doused.
    .-= kotgarh´s last blog ..Morning of Seasons Second Snowfall – Dec 14th, 2009 [Kotgarh – Batnal – Narkanda] =-.

    Reply
  6. Bonjour   December 30, 2009 at 5:51 am

    Thank god that the fire was at garbage dump yard, not at someone’s backyard or frontyard. I think the slumber really needs to broken.
    Everyday Shimlaites take the circular road to commute. They might enjoy the panoramic view of pine tops, the distant snow covered Himalayas and sometimes the random building facades too. But what they really miss is the backyards and the frontyard of the cascading concrete jungle, the hill slopes along the road, below and above. It’s high time that we not only notice them but take some concrete steps to save the pines and our environment. Or are we waiting for another high court order to sweep ridges and the ravine of ‘Hill’s Queen’, Oops! ‘Garbage Queen’.

    Shimla is in making of one of the ‘Great Himalayan Blunders’.

    Reply
  7. Bonjour   December 30, 2009 at 10:51 am

    Thank god that the fire was at garbage dump yard, not at someone’s backyard or frontyard. I think the slumber really needs to broken.
    Everyday Shimlaites take the circular road to commute. They might enjoy the panoramic view of pine tops, the distant snow covered Himalayas and sometimes the random building facades too. But what they really miss is the backyards and the frontyard of the cascading concrete jungle, the hill slopes along the road, below and above. It’s high time that we not only notice them but take some concrete steps to save the pines and our environment. Or are we waiting for another high court order to sweep ridges and the ravine of ‘Hill’s Queen’, Oops! ‘Garbage Queen’.

    Shimla is in making of one of the ‘Great Himalayan Blunders’.

    Reply

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