Garbage dumps spoil the beauty of Roerich estate

Garbage dumps spoil the beauty of Roerich estate

The dumping and burning of garbage in and around the famed Roerich and Devika Rani Roerich Estate in South Bengaluru's Kanakapura Road have become an eyesore and an embarrassment to the authorities.

At any given point in time, one can see piles of garbage and construction debris thrown around the 468-acre estate, built by Russian artist Svetoslav Roerich and his Indian wife and legendary Bollywood actor Devika Rani.

Also called Tataguni Estate, it is home to many herbivores and carnivores, including leopards. It is also frequented by elephants and sloth bears. The estate draws many visitors, including Russian tourists.

While the property is managed by the state-run Roerich and Devika Rani Roerich Estate Board, the area comes under the jurisdiction of the Agara gram panchayat.

The garbage problem is clearly troubling everyone - locals, estate board and the gram panchayat. What makes the problem severe is that burnt trash could put the estate, which is essentially a curated forest, on fire. This is what precisely happened in March, said G H Puttahalagaiah, the CEO of the board.

According to him, the many efforts to control the garbage problem had come to a nought.

"We requested the local administration as well as the BBMP many times to clear the garbage around and on the way to the estate," he said. "It's a major problem and an embarrassment as Russian delegates and tourists keep visiting the estate."

Another member of the board said many Russians had complained about piles of garbage lying on the road near the estate and at the entrance.

Bhaskar R, panchayat development officer, Agara village, conceded that garbage around the estate was both an embarrassment and a major problem. He insisted that the panchayat had been striving for the past several years to address the problem. He said the panchayat had tied up with the Art of Living foundation to undertake regular cleanliness drives.

In November, two complaints were lodged at the Kanakapura police station over the dumping and burning of garbage.

Bhaskar pointed that it was not just locals, but also vehicles from Bengaluru that dump garbage on vacant spaces and the roadside. "We will take the help of locals to control the menace. Those giving information about dumper vehicles will be rewarded," he added.

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