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Govt under fire in HC over garbage

Bangalore, Nov 20, 2012, DHNS 18:52 IST
Uncleared garbage at Chikka Banasavadi Main Road on Monday. DH Photo B H Shivakumar
The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday warned that it would initiate contempt proceedings against the State government if it fails to devise an effective garbage disposal mechanism.

Hearing a PIL filed by advocate G R Mohan, seeking supercession of the BBMP for its failure to address the garbage disposal issue, a division bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen reprimanded the State government for failing to abide by court directions on garbage disposal in Bangalore.

“If the State government, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike and the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) do not come out with a plan to address the garbage menace in the City in two days, the bench will issue contempt notices,” the court said.

Justice Sen further said until the court puts top officials from the civic agencies “behind the bars”, the BBMP and the KSPCB would not act. “It’s most unfortunate to see the problem and not react to it,” he said.

On November 6, the bench had set a deadline of two weeks before the government to identify five more landfill sites around the City.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Additional Advocate General K N Nataraj submitted that the government had identified 42 landfill sites and sought 10 days’ time to complete the formalities. The Chief Justice took exception to the submission and said the government had done “practically nothing” in the last 15 days. “What should people do with such a garbage menace around? We cannot give more time,” he said.

Responding to a senior government official who stated that bylaws for garbage disposal were being formulated, the Chief Justice questioned the need to have bylaws to clear garbage. The official later submitted that five landfill sites at Anekal (207 acres), Kallabalu (60 acres), Bidarahalli (50 acres), Sarjapur (94 acres) and Gudibande (326 acres) have been identified and are awaiting KSPCB clearance.

When BBMP Commissioner Rajneesh Goel stood up to explain the issues hindering garbage disposal, the Chief Justice said: “Mr Commissioner, please sit down. We have heard from you. The AAG is here to explain for the government,” Justice Sen said.

As Justice Sen asked the government to elaborate on the status of proposals like increasing the penalty to be paid by defaulters in garbage segregation etc, the senior government official said the proposal was sent to the Cabinet on Monday.

“You should speed up the process as the matter is also about public health. Will superceding the BBMP help you to expedite garbage disposal?” Justice Sen asked. There was no clear response from the government.

The bench has adjourned the case till November 22.

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