The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) jatha to create awareness about its ambitious garbage segregation at source plans was a complete washout because of the rains. The jatha was taken out from BBMP head office to Lal Bagh (M.T.R. entrance) on Sunday.

The much-hyped event turned out to be a damp squib, with no show from Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, Deputy Chief Minister R. Ashok, city MLAs and several councillors. The event, which was supposed to begin at 7 a.m., began only past 8 a.m.

Inaugurated by Bangalore South MP H.N. Ananth Kumar, the jatha saw participation from just around 20 councillors, children from BBMP schools and a few private organisations. The chairpersons of only two Standing Committees N.R. Sridhar Reddy (Major Works) and V. Vageesh (Administrative Reforms) were present. S. Venkatesh Babu, chairperson for the Standing Committee for Public Health, was conspicuous by his absence.

Though it started to pour, the MP and city Mayor D. Venkatesh Murthy, intent on taking out the jatha, braved the rain and walked till Lal Bagh. They were accompanied by Basavanagudi MLA Ravi Subramanya, a handful of councillors and Commissioner Rajneesh Goel. Schoolchildren, who were given placards, were seen holding them over their head to protect themselves from the rain.

Cultural troupes performed along the way, blocking traffic on P. Kalinga Rao Road and Lal Bagh Road. Despite the rain, artistes also performed a short street play. These activities drew many curious stares from motorists who had parked their vehicles by the side of the road and were taking shelter from the steady downpour.

Speaking to reporters after reaching Lal Bagh, Mr. Kumar urged citizens to cooperate and segregate garbage at source. “This is an issue concerning public health. We must all join hands and segregate garbage at source for the betterment of our city that already has earned international repute.”

He said after several rounds of discussions with Mr. Jagadish and Mr. Ashok, a plan for the city’s solid waste management was drawn. He said the city would have around 100 dry waste collection centres within a month’s time.

Mr. Murthy said that several pourakarmikas had already been trained on segregation, while workshops had been conducted for both officials and councillors. He said the councillors would take out a door-to-door campaign from Monday in their respective wards to create awareness among citizens.

Ruling Party Leader N. Nagaraju did not mince words and expressed dissatisfaction over the lack of interest shown by the councillors, including those from the Opposition. From the Opposition parties, only Opposition Leader M.K. Gunashekar, Janata Dal (S) Floor Leader T. Thimme Gowda and former Opposition Leader M. Udayshankar participated. “The councillors raise hue and cry in the council about the garbage issue. Why can’t they participate in the BBMP event to create awareness? If they themselves are disinterested in solving the city’s problems, how can they expect any cooperation from the citizens?” he asked.

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