Fire in Mundka scrap market
two incidents of fire in April ruined traders of the plastic scrap market in Mundka village in Delhi’s outskirts. While waste pickers search heaps of burnt plastic for metal scraps they can sell to buy a meal, the land owners in Mundka are hoping for better times. The plastic scrap market, possibly the largest in India, is likely to shift, which means they can get higher rentals. Mundka is now connected by metro rail and land prices have started spiralling.
Puneet Lakra, a land-owner, said the scrap units fetch a rental of only Rs 5 to Rs 15 per sq metre per month.
Better tenants would be welcome, he said. Salaried class people are now moving into Mundka area and demand for residential and commercial space increased after Delhi Metro Rail Corporation started testing the 11-km route between Mundka and Inderlok three months ago, said Ramesh Chander, a real estate agent. He said the scrap market was an eyesore for his customers. “Land owners in Mundka have already developed 70 per cent of their land as factories and colonies. Once the plastic market shifts, they may want to invest in developing the remaining 30 per cent land,” Chander said while adding rental from residential areas are Rs 110 per sqm.
Things were different 15 years ago when the scrap dealers shifted from Jwalapuri in 1995 after fire gutted the pvc market there. At that time land owners in Mundka were glad to rent out their land to the scrap dealers who did not want to shift to Tikri Kalan industrial market where Delhi Development Authority offered space. The traders refused to shift saying land allotted to them was insufficient. The Delhi government is now planning to shift the shops to Tikri near the border. Waste pickers like Kaju Devi from Patna who was earning just enough to feed her three children and send them to school said she had no idea what to do next.