A sceptic's view of the Garbage City

On July 1, sensing a business opportunity in the garbage crisis in Bangalore, the Swedish ambassador made a quick stop at the Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s office in Vidhan Soudha.

His agenda: Get Siddaramaiah to come to Sweden to study the technology utilised by the Swedes to generate power from their garbage.

Following his meeting, Siddaramaiah was asked about the intentions of the Swedes who came to meet him. He reiterated the same, and said that they wanted him to take a tour of their plants, which cycles garbage to power. He said that a decision in this regard was yet to be taken.

On a lighter note, one reporter told him: “Perhaps it would be best if you do not take the BBMP officials to Sweden, and yourself make the trip.” The CM and the host of journalists burst out laughing, understanding the one true reason of the garbage crisis in the City. Mismanagement.

Two years ago, the New York Times picked up the garbage crisis, renaming the Garden City as the Garbage City, and gave Bangalore international status in civic mismanagement. Back then, it was the BJP government which was in power, and the Mavallipura villagers, who were the affected party. The BJP regime faced a lot of stick for their attitude.

Barring the fact that it is the Mandur villagers and the Congress government, who are in news now, everything else is the same.

Mandur is just another landfill, in a long list of nondescript villages which face the wrath of the monumental garbage piles dispatched from the City of Bangalore. Today, as the government resolves the crisis of Mandur by negotiating with the villagers, the City is gearing up to dump its waste in some other location. After six months, BBMP and the government may very well be negotiating truce with a village in Dodballapur or Chikkballapur and move the garbage elsewhere. 

Though the technology has evolved the City is not going to see any change. The BBMP corporators will continue to go on junkets to either Salem in Tamil Nadu or Israel in West Asia to identify lasting solutions. While the trips may have provided a welcome break to the corporators, the City fathers have failed to give a break to the people who have elected them.

As a sceptic, it is impossible to see past the graft and mafia, which is blocking all solutions to the garbage crisis. The same nexus of corporators, bureaucrats, land developers and garbage contractors continue in power. So, when will the City overcome its garbage problem. Your guess is as good as mine.

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