All transactions come to a stop, accumulating garbage worries citizens
No building plan was approved, no khata was transferred or updated and no birth or death certificates issued in the city on Wednesday as Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) staff began their “indefinite strike” against the Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF).
Even as Bangaloreans were put to great inconvenience, the BBMP Officers’ and Employees’ Association, which has organised the strike, decided to boycott work until the criminal cases booked against its engineers by the BMTF were withdrawn.
The BBMP’s headquarters on N.R. Square was the hub of the protest with most officials participating in the demonstration.
All zonal offices also remained closed.
The public who turned up at the zonal offices, expecting to get their work done, were the worst hit, particularly those didn’t know there was a strike on. M. Puttayya, a private bank clerk, came to the BBMP office from Rajajinagar taking half a day’s leave to collect his voter ID for which he had applied three days earlier.
“Now I’ll have to take another half-day’s leave to collect the election card,” he rued.
Similar scenes were witnessed at Jayanagar too.
Silambarasan, who works in an automobile company, was there to get his daughter’s birth certificate. He had taken permission to take two hours off for the purpose.
“My daughter was born two weeks back. I’m supposed to get the birth certificate within 21 days and so I have to get it done by this week. Otherwise, I’m afraid I’ll be fined Rs. 25 a day.”
The real impact of the strike has not been felt yet, particularly garbage collection.
Though residents were stuck with waste in areas where BBMP pourakarmikas collect garbage door to door, the situation was still manageable. However, as Sivanagar resident Lakshmi pointed out, if the situation continues, the neighbourhood will become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and cause health hazards.
The strike had little impact in areas where private contractors are responsible for garbage collection, particularly in commercial hubs. On Brigade Road, where there are several restaurants, most owners said it was not a problem.
P. Oommen Koshy of Koshy’s on St. Mark’s Road said: “We are not affected by the strike as the garbage is collected by private contractors and it has been collected today as well.”
Even on Commercial Street, a foodie’s haven, the roads were clean. Mohammed Nazim, president of the Commercial Street Merchants’ Association, said the association has an alternative arrangement.
“The BBMP pourakarmikas come twice a day, but the private people whom we have hired clear the garbage every few hours.”
But he admitted they would be faced with a problem eventually as the garbage will not be picked up from the dumping places where even the private collectors dispose of the garbage. The last link in the collection process is still the BBMP, he said.
One could already see polythene covers filled with garbage dumped on Meenakshi Coil Street. M. Kirankumar, who has been running a condiment shop for 60 years here, said pourakarmikas usually swept the streets twice daily. He was worried about accumulating garbage. He pointed out that the intermittent rain would spread the filth, attracting rodents and other vermin.