BBMP scrambles for alternatives after protest shuts waste plant

The plant has been shut after farmers in the surrounding areas complained of leachate flowing into their farmlands
Last Updated : 30 November 2021, 10:38 IST

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The closure of a waste processing plant at Chigaranahalli in Doddaballapur taluk has left the BBMP scrambling for alternatives to process 500 tonnes of daily garbage.

The plant has been shut after farmers in the surrounding areas complained of leachate flowing into their farmlands. The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is likely to dump much of the garbage in landfills.

Farmers also began a protest on the issue with the backing of the Baktharahalli gram panchayat, which accused the BBMP of not obtaining a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from it to set up the plant.

Sri Nanjavadhutha Swamiji of Sri Kshetra Spatikapura, who visited the spot, said the waste generated in Bengaluru should be processed in the city and should not be packed off to villages.

The villagers have been protesting against the plant operator MSGP Infratech Pvt Ltd. Videos showed the dark polluted water was flowing into the farm. The foul smell wafting in the air has made it difficult for farmers to eat their food after working in the farm.

The Chigaranahalli plant has been one of the four active waste processing centres to which the BBMP has been dispatching 2,000 tonnes of wet waste daily.

The Doddaballapur plant, started in 2014 by a private firm in the aftermath of the Mandur landfill controversy, is taking the lion’s share of the waste. The BBMP set up the other plants and has given it to private agencies to operate.

Rain worsens problem

Sources close to MSGP said the leachate overflow has been caused by the increased moisture level in the waste. The recent heavy rain has further exacerbated the problem, making it difficult for operators to stop the leachate from flowing out.

The private firm is currently setting up an Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) on the instruction of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB).

Senior BBMP officials, including special commissioner Dr Harish Kumar, joint commissioner Sarfaraz Khan and superintendent engineer Basavaraj Kabade visited the spot to pacify the farmers.

The BBMP has registered a police complaint against the private firm for negligence, besides which three complaints have also been lodged against an individual for instigating the farmers.

Officials said the plant will resume operations in a couple of weeks.

“There wouldn't have been any problems had the private firm built a bund to stop the leachate overflow. Largely, the plant operated well. We cannot shut the plant permanently as it will lead to piling up of garbage in the city,” Sarfaraz Khan said.

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Published 29 November 2021, 19:41 IST

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