‘Official appointed for the job should be present in Court during hearings’

The Karnataka High Court on Thursday directed the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to appoint an official exclusively to track waste disposal by bulk generators.

“About 1,900 tonnes of waste is generated by the bulk generators every day and hence they should be treated as a separate class. Appropriate action, including coercive steps compelling them to adhere to norms, should be taken,” a Division Bench comprising Justice N. Kumar and Justice B.V. Nagarathna said while hearing public interest litigation (PIL) petitions.

Apropos of the problem of segregation, particularly plastic, the Bench also took note of the complaint that “commercial establishments, marriage halls, apartment complexes and malls are the main culprits that indiscriminately mix plastic with other waste”.

It said that the officer, who would be appointed exclusively to monitor bulk garbage generators, should have overall supervisory responsibility, including how they segregate, transport, and dispose of the waste from their premises. The official should also be present in the court during hearings.

Helpline, website

Meanwhile, the government, in its action take report (ATR), said the BBMP has established a 24x7 helpline number — 22660000 — which is receiving about 150 to 200 complaints about non-clearance of garbage and that officials are attending to the complaints promptly.

The report also stated that the BBMP website on which the officials are now uploading the images of garbage clearance, would soon be opened for citizens, who can post images of uncleared garbage.

Meet on segregation

The BBMP counsel told the court a meeting with residential welfare associations, non-governmental organisations and others would be organised at the Town Hall on December 15 to create awareness about segregation of dry and wet waste.

Noticing that the main reason for the unabated garbage problem is fight between contractors, the Bench said it would first decide the petitions related to awarding of contracts to ensure that contractors are in place to carry out this work and later fix the responsibility of BBMP and other authorities.

“Don’t criticise the councillors in the court. It is they who have to do the job. What is the use if the city is not clean despite having 198 councillors? So, talk to them nicely with respect and persuade them to do the job,” the Bench observed when counsel for petitioners blamed councillors for the garbage mess.

When counsel for petitioners pointed out that the Health and Home Ministers were “fighting” over dumping of waste at Mandur, the Bench described it as “a free entertainment” in a lighter vein.

Further hearing has been adjourned to January 8.