‘Twenty-four hours is enough to solve the problem if all agencies put their heads together’
Observing that garbage is not “going out” despite many hearings on the public interest litigation (PIL) petitions complaining about the garbage problem, the Karnataka High Court on Thursday said it expects a “single-window approach” by all agencies of the State government to clean the city, and not keep on passing the buck to each other.
“If all put their heads together, the problem can be solved within 24 hours. It is the responsibility of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to keep the city clean and the State government has to give statutory support to the civic authority,” observed a Division Bench comprising Justice N. Kumar and Justice B.V. Nagarathna.
A week’s time
Granting a week to the BBMP to mobile its resources, tackle the problem with a single-minded approach, and the court’s earlier directions, the Bench said the court does not encourage state agencies frittering away time writing letters to each other, but expects a quick and coordinated approach.
Stating that it is not the court’s duty to suggest what should be done to clean the city, the Bench said the BBMP should enforce the law and discharge its statutory duty of cleaning the city adopting both short-term and long-term plans while stressing that short-term plans should be the immediate priority.
When the BBMP counsel said some “unseen hands” are obstructing implementation of cleanup initiatives besides registering criminal cases against officials engaged in garbage disposal, the Bench said the BBMP and the State government should take stern action on the perpetrators.
‘Deal as per law’
“Why have some people started agitating at … landfills when dumping was going on from many years? You know who they are and obviously why they are doing it. You should know how to deal as per law with persons obstructing your duty …,” the Bench told the BBMP counsel, assuring to come to its rescue if it was unable to act as per law on such disruptive elements.
The Bench also directed the authorities to keep in mind the interest of village people while choosing temporary landfills till waste treatment units are set up.
A bad name
Refusing to accept the petitioner’s contention that the BBMP council be superseded, the Bench told the government counsel the garbage problem had earned the State government a bad name and asked the government to initiate proper action empowering the Commissioner.
It also asked the BBMP to take stringent action against hotels and marriage halls if they don’t comply with the norms.
Asking the BBMP to educate citizens on the importance of segregation, the Bench suggested using TV inserts during popular soaps to spread the message.
Search for landfills
Meanwhile, the government informed the court that only 31.21 acres of land is available for a landfill at survey number 31 of Chikkanagamangala instead of 94.35 acres as informed earlier, as a residential layout had come up in the surroundings.
Two other plots, 476 acres at Arudi in Doddaballapur and 600 acres at Thogarighatta in Koratagere taluk of Tumkur district, have been identified for landfills, the court was told.
The next hearing was adjourned till December 13.