Nearly four years after the Mayapuri scrap market in West Delhi was hit by a radiation leak, businessmen in the Asia’s largest junk trade hub say no adequate preventive mechanism has been put in place by the authorities as promised after the incident.
Traders say business has suffered drastically after the incident and the market was grappling with indifferent attitude of government departments concerned, besides facing problems of lack of adequate facilities and infrastructure.
The green tribunal had set up a six-member committee last year to inspect the pollution level of the market and gauge the steps taken by the government to prevent the recurrence of the radiation accident.
Despite orders passed by the tribunal to set up scanners at the gates of the market and provide hand-held radiation detectors to the shop owners, no such initiative has been taken so far, claimed Vinod Goel, an office bearer of the Mayapuri Market Association.
“The hand-held radiation detectors are not easily available and are quite expensive. The authorities should provide the instruments free of cost,” says 43-year-old Ajay Kumar Jain, who was injured in the radiation accident.
“We are sometimes visited by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) officials who tell us about danger of a radiation accident. But there are many people who do not know about it. The awareness drive has not been effective,” he said.
A senior official of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), however, rejected allegations that no concrete measures have been put in place to stop incident of radiation leak.
“DPCC has appointed nine zonal officers to check the polluting industrial units in the 11 districts of the city. We are entitled to pass instructions to curb pollution. We are not targeting any particular settlement. The zonal officers will be soon filing the reports of the examination of all the units,” said the official.
In April 2010, hazardous radioactive Cobalt 60 that was auctioned off found its way to the market and caused an accident claiming one life and injuring ten others.
The radioactive material was traced to a Delhi University laboratory with the Delhi police charge sheeting 6 people from the university in the case.