As HC slams BBMP, govt fires commissioner

As HC slams BBMP, govt fires commissioner

The Karnataka High Court on Monday admonished the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike for its failure to get the City cleared of garbage and threatened to “dismiss” officials responsible for the mess.

Hours later, the State government removed BBMP commissioner M K Shankarlinge Gowda. He was transferred to the Horticulture Department. Gowda was replaced by Rajneesh Goel, a 1986 batch IAS officer, who was the Managing Director of the Karnataka State Industrial Investment Development Corporation. Gowda, however, said the transfer has nothing to do with the BBMP and it was “just a routine exercise” of the State government.

The City’s garbage crisis deepened on Monday, with angry residents of Mandur setting the disposal unit on fire. Two fire tenders were rushed to put out the blaze. Residents of 18 villages around the dumping yard laid a virtual siege to the facility, and refused to let any BBMP truck enter the area. BBMP officials said about 100 garbage-laden trucks were lined up outside the place, even as the angry villagers kept vigil on all roads leading to the landfill. 

Pulling up the BBMP, the High Court Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B V Nagarathna observed that the civic agency was “not interested” in doing its job, and was “coming up with lame excuses”. The Bench was hearing a writ petition filed by advocate G R Mohan on August 25, seeking direction to the State government to supersede the BBMP as it “failed” in its duty of taking care of the citizens.

Justice Sen said: “People have a right to live in a clean environment. But you have failed in this regard and have not bothered about the people. The BBMP officials have clearly failed in their duties. If the garbage problem is not corrected, we may have to order suspension or even dismiss such failing officials from service.”

K N Puttegowda, BBMP counsel, sought to explain the problems being faced by the civic agency such as opposition by people to dumping of garbage in their villages. The court said that those living near the landfills should not be affected. Further, the BBMP should ensure safe scientific disposal of the garbage after segregating it, Justice Sen remarked.

The court ordered issuance of notices to the chief secretary and the BBMP Commissioner, and gave the Palike three days to submit a detailed status report on its plans to dispose of the garbage. The petitioner had submitted that the BBMP had not found a mechanism for disposal of waste even after the enactment of the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act, 1976. The agency still depends upon the vacant landfill sites in and around Bangalore to dump  garbage.

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