After Mandur, Mavallipura, Terra Firma feels the heat

After Mandur, Mavallipura, Terra Firma feels the heat

Residents of Doddaballapur villages have now found their voice

After Mandur, Mavallipura, Terra Firma feels the heat

Taking a cue from the protests launched by residents of Mavallipura and Mandur villages, residents of Gundlahalli, Sakkaregollahalli, Bhaktarahalli and surrounding areas in Doddaballapur are now up in arms against BBMP for dumping garbage in their villages.

The residents of these villages are upset with the mismanagement by Terra Firma, the garbage processing firm operating here.

The Palike’s garbage trucks cover a distance of 60 km every day to dump Bangalore’s garbage at Gundlahalli, 18 km from Doddaballapur town, where Terra Firma’s processing unit is located.

Though stinking trucks have stopped plying on the narrow lanes of Gundlahalli in the last 10 days, the ‘garbage effect’ lingers on in the form of the housefly menace. Children refuse to eat the ‘bisi oota’ served to them at the anganwadis and schools, due to the presence of houseflies.

“Despite cleaning the premises twice with phenyl and bleaching powder, the fly menace continues. In the last four years, children have fallen sick several times. They are losing their immunity,” said Mahalakshmi, an anganwadi teacher.

Everyday hell

For Ramakka, her day begins with a view of heaps of garbage piled up in front of her house, as soon as she opens the door. It is like living in hell, she says.

“Whenever the earthmover operates to pile up the garbage at the unit, the stink spreads everywhere. Houseflies and mosquitoes have become part of our lives,” she said.

Ramakka had to spend thousands of rupees for treating her cattle, which took ill after grazing on toxic grass in the field.

The village witnessed a large number of cattle deaths, after grazing on toxic waste at the garbage dump. Kenchamma lost her only bull when the animal developed infection after grazing in the field.  

“I lost my bull which was worth more than Rs 10,000. I don’t know how to plough my field now,” she lamented.

According to one of the residents of Gundlahalli, the company was allowed to establish an unit here as they claimed to manufacture manure through vermicompost method. But a villager employed at the unit says he has never seen any worms being used for composting.

Only shredding machine

“They are only using some shredding machine to produce powder out of the dry waste which cannot be used as manure,” the resident said.  

It is not just the garbage, according to the residents. Toxic liquids from pharma companies are also dumped at the unit unscientifically, affecting the vegetation there.
When Terra Firma was established in 2008, several residents had protested and were even arrested by the Doddaballapur police. Fearing the involvement of ‘influential’ parties, the residents have been silently agitating for the last four years. With protests from the residents of other landfills reaching a flash point, these villagers have now started asserting.

Gram Panchayat member D C Shashidhar said the residents were not against garbage being dumped there. But they were protesting against indiscriminate dumping and unscientific methods of processing it.

President of the Sakkaregollahalli Gram Panchayat Krishnappa said the residents want their village back. They cannot see their people migrating elsewhere.

“We will protest till BBMP pushes Terra Firma out of Gundlahalli,” he said.