Get cracking on solid waste or face action: HC to BBMP

Unclear garbage, which cover the road, in front of Dr.B.R. Ambedkar of Law College, at Srirampura 5th Main road, in Bengaluru on Monday. (DH Photo/ B H Shivakumar)

The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday set a one-month deadline for the BBMP to effectively manage solid waste, failing which it directed the state government to take serious action, including the dissolution of the BBMP Council.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay S Oka and Justice S R Krishna Kumar said Bengaluru, once known as the 'Garden City', had turned out to be the worst place to live due to the BBMP’s apathy. 

The bench, hearing petitions filed by various organisations and individuals, said the state government should initiate action against the BBMP Council under Section 99 of the Karnataka Municipal Corporation (KMC) Act if it doesn’t comply with the direction of the court within one month. “The state government shall file an affidavit on the matter before December 16,” Justice Oka said.

“If the authority fails to abide by the direction on the implementation of Solid Waste Management (SWM) Rule 2016, permission for construction of new buildings in the city will also be withheld, except for work on big development projects of the government,” he warned.

“The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) is free to take action against the BBMP which has been dumping waste in quarries without obtaining permission. The KSPCB can file criminal case against the authority,” he said.

“The city is extending its border beyond limits and more than 5,700 tonnes of waste is generated every day. But the authority has the capacity to process only 1,250 tonnes, that too for the next two years. As a result, around 4,000 tonnes of waste is being dumped in quarries unscientifically. The corporation has dumped illegally over 18.99 lakh tonnes of waste in quarries in the last three years. Over 2,500 tonnes were dumped at Bellahalli quarry without permission and the authority is now eyeing other quarries abutting the city. It is necessary to process solid waste, plastic, medical waste and other hazardous waste in a scientific manner,” Justice Oka added.

BBMP's advocate K N Puttegowda appealed to the court that if it prohibited dumping of construction waste in open space, the only place that remained would be Cubbon Park and Lal Bagh. He said the BBMP needed time to come out with a solution. “We cannot cut the nose if we catch a cold. If given more time, we will definitely implement the rule effectively,” he submitted.

Justice Oka clarified that the court has not made any prohibitions on waste management as of now. But if the BBMP doesn't act in two months, the court will not hesitate to withhold permissions for new buildings.

HC observations

The court said the state government shouldn’t be a silent spectator if BBMP fails to perform its duties. The state has equal responsibilities on the implementation of SWM Rule. Article 21 of the Constitution grants the right to live in a non-polluted place.

 

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