Residents create tech solutions for failed civic work

‘Bamboo’ summit

A view of the exhibition at the practices in the areas of Water, Energy, SWM, Safety, Apartment Management & contribution through Civic Engagement & Community Welfare at BAMBOOS 2019. organised by Bangalore apartments Fedaration( BAF) at Freedom Park, in Bengaluru on Sunday. Photo/ B H Shivakumar

Apartment dwellers are increasingly turning to technology and home-grown solutions to compensate for the city municipal corporation’s failure to solve poor water supply, sketchy power supply and non-existent waste management. 

Jayanthi Tirumale, an apartment owner from Jayanagar, involved in creating a waste segregation programme, explained that apartments first realised the need to create sustainable solutions when the BBMP stopped collecting waste from bulk generators in 2012.

In January 2019, the Palike once again gave contractors the authority to collect garbage from apartments, although the move did not last long. 

The see-saw policy prompted many to find solutions to their problems, according to over a dozen apartment owners that DH spoke to on Sunday. They gathered for the second edition of the annual 'Bamboo' summit, which showcases sustainable and best-practice solutions among the 500-odd apartments under the aegis of the Bangalore Apartments Federation (BAF).

For Mohan Dharwadkar, president of the Begur apartment cluster, this involved equipping every domicile in his 100-unit apartment with a water metre.

"Like many others, we were dependent on tankers. The result was a Rs 1.25 lakh bill for the building every month, which rose to Rs 1.75 lakh in 2019. By metering every unit in the apartment complex six months ago, we saw a 50% reduction in water usage,” Dharwadkar said. "People became more careful about water once charges were tailored to their usage." 

It is a move that the chairman of the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), Tushar Girinath, agrees with. "The board is moving to equip every apartment unit in the city with water meters. If a property has more than three to four floors, it will become compulsory for every unit within the property to have a meter," he said, speaking at the summit.

Other owners complained that there is no mechanism to deal with the excess compost that is being generated out of waste segregation. "There is no organised system to channel excess compost to parks, nurseries and farms like there should be," Jayanthi said.

The BBMP must act quickly to introduce a policy to address this issue, added Kamesh Rastoghi, president of the HSR Layout apartments cluster. "If it fails to act, many apartments may give up segregation and composting," he warned.

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