Bengaluru hurtles towards another garbage crisis

BBMP hits the pits

The city’s only landfill is about to overflow. (Representative image)

Carelessness of the BBMP has brought the city on the doorstep of another garbage crisis similar to the one it witnessed in 2013, when villagers prevented dumping of waste at Mandur landfill.

Picture this: The city’s only landfill is about to overflow. A sensible civic body would show a sense of urgency, rushing to find an alternative dumping spot. But that isn’t what the BBMP has done.

For the past several months, officials at the civic body seemed to have looked the other way even as the problem built into a crisis.

The government came down heavily over the BBMP’s procrastination. In a recent meeting, BBMP officials were pulled up for delaying the tender process to build a scientific landfill in the city. Work has been delayed as BBMP officials have spent nearly six months in trying to bypass the tender process.

B H Anil Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary of the Urban Development Department, wondered why officials were insisting on awarding the work through the Karnataka Rural Infrastructure Development Limited (KRIDL) despite his direction to invite tenders.

“The proposal to award work through KRIDL has been rejected as the Finance Department has not agreed to the proposal. The government has directed BBMP to call a tender in February. Why wasn’t a tender floated,” Kumar questioned.

Crisis nears

Meanwhile, senior officials have questioned the BBMP’s decision to postpone the date for opening bids of a short-term tender by seven days. The tender for setting up a landfill in Mitiganahalli involves a three-month process.

Despite knowing the Bellahalli landfill will be shut after August 20, officials seemed to have invested all their time in getting exemption from the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurements Act (KTPP Act).

A BBMP official alleged that the short-term tender had been deliberately delayed.

“If it was processed properly, the tender would have opened up space for day-to-day disposal of garbage from August 15. But officials want to drag this process so that there is no way left than awarding the work through the KRIDL,” the official said.

He alleged that KRIDL would not execute the project but award it to a contractor, who is a relative of a former mayor.

But Additional Commissioner (SWM) D Randeep was confident that there would be no crisis. He said exemption from the KTTP act had been sought for temporary pit preparation in Mitaganahalli.

Another official, however, said all this was mere hogwash. “They want to create a landfill at a private quarry next to Bellahalli but they have not got clearance from the Pollution Control Board,” he said.

DH had exposed how officials had notified a tender but did not upload its documents on the e-procurement site. This was done to convince the government to exempt them from tender process stating that there was no participation from bidders.

Meanwhile, the additional chief secretary has told BBMP officials that the government will not fund works worth Rs 8 crore through the KRIDL. Kumar has asked the BBMP to bear its cost.

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