Rain adds to mess as garbage crisis mounts in City

Rain adds to mess as garbage crisis mounts in City

Torrential rain on Thursday evening messed up the City’s already stinking streets, playing spoilsport with the BBMP’s frantic attempts to clear tonnes of uncleared garbage.

The sudden death of a youth even as villagers, NGOs and other organisations blocked the Palike’s 800-men-strong effort to operationalise the Mavallipura landfill on Thursday morning, left the civic agency struggling to maintain a semblance of order.

As a desperate, last-minute option, 200 trucks were desp­atched with whatever garbage they could load, to the Mandur and Terra Firma landfills. But the rain hampered the operations. Dozens of trucks returned, still loaded and were lined up at Madiwala checkpost.

Braving the downpour, the Palike workers manually cleared huge piles of garbage from many parts of the City, including the markets in the City centre. Yet, at several locations, rainwater washed away the garbage piles, clogging several storm-water drains.

The NGOs blamed the Palike for adopting half-measures for garbage management. But their sense of timing appeared off the mark, as they lined up behind villagers who vehemently protested BBMP’s determined effort to get the critical Mavallipura landfill functional.

The Bangalore Rural District police had deployed about 800 men to open the landfill, which was closed a month ago on the directions of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB).

A big group of political and social outfits, including Janata Dal (S), Dalit Sangharsh Samiti (DSS), Praja Vimochana Chalavali (PVC) and Raitha Sangha, protested and thwarted the government’s move to forcibly open the landfill. The group demanded that the police produce KSPCB orders revoking ban on the landfill, if any. But that did not materialise. It is alleged that the policemen had a verbal duel with the protesters and in the melee, Srinivas, a youth from the village, got agitated and died of heart attack on the spot. His death complicated the situation and led to a standoff between the protesters and the district administration. The demonstrators wanted compensation for the deceased’s kin.

The standoff continued, with the protesters alleging that the State government was using police force to terrorise villagers and start the landfill illegally. But the police and the Palike had to ease the mounting garbage crisis in the City. The entire day, the police were trying to break the logjam but in vain.

District Superintendent of Police D Prakash had an interaction with K Satish of Raitha Sangha and leaders of other outfits, but the talks failed.

NGOs such as the Environment Support Group and Citizens’ Action Forum claimed the State government was arm-twisting the KSPCB to revoke the ban. There were no immediate solutions to tide over the crisis. But they reiterated their complaints against the Palike for failing to initiate campaigns to boost garbage segregation at source, and for dumping the City’s waste in villages on the outskirts.

Apparently under pressure from Deputy Chief Minister R Ashoka to revoke shutdown orders, the KSPCB officers on Thursday inspected the Mavallipura landfill to check whether the Palike adhered to its previous instructions. The KSPCB officers also had a closed-door meeting with the executives of Ramky Enviro Engineers in the presence of Palike officers, State government officers and police officers. The KSPCB officers wanted some more steps to be taken to protect environment in and around Mavallipura.

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