Huge mounds of garbage caught fire in Mandur on Friday afternoon, and the resulting thick smoke spread to the villages around the landfill site.

According to Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials, the fire could have started by itself. “The garbage lets off methane gas, which is highly combustible. The increasing daytime temperatures may have caused the fire,” officials said.

They claimed the fire was first sighted at the landfill owned and managed by the BBMP at around 12.45 p.m. and reported to the fire station at around 1 p.m. Around six fire tenders were sent to the spot from Mahadevapura and Hoskote, even though the official conceded that it was difficult to bring it (fire) under control. Two water tankers were also sent in. An area of around 25 acres within the landfill was engulfed by the fire.

The officials rubbished allegations that miscreants may have set the garbage on fire because the BBMP had not kept its word on stopping dumping at Mandur from February 1.

Rakesh Gowda, Mandur Gram Panchayat member, told The Hindu that the smoke had spread to Mandur and Gundur villages. “However, by around 6 p.m., the smoke had reduced. BBMP officials also rushed to the spot and helped the fire force personnel contain the fire.” He said soon after the fire was noticed, the panchayat had contacted the BBMP.

He also said that Mahadevapura MLA Arvind Limbavali and Minister for Labour B.N. Bache Gowda visited the site and directed the officials to ensure that the fire is put out soon. Mr. Limbavali was attending his birthday celebrations organised by his supporters at Jyothipura village, near Mandur, when he reportedly was informed about the fire.

In the evening, community members met to discuss the next course of action. Byappanahalli, Bidarahalli, Gundur, Marasandra and Jyothipura communities will meet again on Saturday, while Mr. Limbavali will meet community leaders on Sunday.

A meeting has been convened on Monday at the BBMP office by Mayor D. Venkatesh Murthy.

BBMP Commissioner Siddaiah said that he had directed officials from the Mahadevapura zone to monitor the situation at the landfill.

“A case has been filed in the local police station. I have contacted the Additional Director-General of Police (Law and Order) and urged him to look into the cause of the fire,” he said.

The Commissioner had declared in the BBMP council that the civic body would not be able to adhere to the February-1 deadline and would require at least four months for alternate arrangements to be in place.

Fearing resistance from the communities, the BBMP had urged the Police Department to deploy its personnel in Mandur to ensure that dumping of garbage is not disrupted.

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