110 villages, struggling sans sanitation network

110 villages, struggling sans sanitation network

The decision to expand the municipal limits of Bengaluru from 225 sq km to about 800 sq km by incorporating 110 villages, seven City Municipal Councils (CMC) and one Town Municipal Council (TMC), was apparently an invitation to chaos.

With no proper planning and fund allocation, these villages, CMCs and TMC were merged to form the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). Looking back, the lack of basic infrastructure, especially sanitary lines proved the nemesis for the lakes in the city. Most of the water bodies have either been reduced to cesspools or disappeared from the Bengaluru map over the last 10 years.

Even today, many of these villages are forced to make do with open drains while Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) are a distant dream. Sewage in these drains are directly let into the stormwater drains converting them into perennial streams of waste water. Eventually, the city’s three rivers – Arkavathi, Vrushabhavathi and Dakshina Pinakini – lost their features, eventually becoming carriers of the city’s filthy water.

Before the merger, the municipal limits were coterminus with BWSSB’s jurisdiction. But once the unification happened, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) washed its hands off the responsibility of 110 villages, CMCs and TMC. The liability to take care of water and sewerage system in the newly added areas fell on the BBMP.

Year after year, it has been the BBMP, which is laying the sanitation pipelines and supplying drinking water through borewells and water tankers. The Palike’s Taxation and Finance committee chairman, M K Gunashekar, informs that the state government had released Rs 250 crore in 2014-15 under the special grants for the development of basic infrastructure in these areas.

A blueprint for tackling sewage

Here’s a list of suggestions on waste water management made by citizens, residents’ welfare associations and domain experts collated through a consultation process for the Bengaluru Blueprint.

Invest in more sewage treatment plants (STPs);  improve existing STPs’ wastewater recycling        capacity and use

Decentralise sewage treatment at the ward level

Incentivise/mandate use of tertiary treated water for non-potable purpose

Mandate STPs in apartment complexes and other large establishments. Prior to giving water connection, have the same inspected by BWSSB. Sanction of building plans and issuance of OC should be linked to functioning STPs

Explore metering of sewerage for bulk generators to track the presence and extent of treatment, pricing, costing etc.
Popularise public toilets designed by DRDO

The fund has not been fully utilised yet and it is being carried forward as spillover works for the past three years. This year, only Rs 36 crore has been utilised, says Gunashekar.

Sensing the difficulties of the BBMP, the state government gave administrative approval to grant BWSSB Rs 5,018.36 crore for laying water and sanitary lines in the newly added areas. Last year, it allocated Rs 1,886 crore for this purpose, of which Rs 1,200 crore is meant only to supply Cauvery water from the 4th stage 2nd phase.

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