If so, why is it still lying around, court asks Commissioner

“You are giving us a glorious picture on what you are doing…. But why is garbage still around? People are running out of patience… Saving the city is more important than saving money…” This was how a Division Bench of the Karnataka High Court — comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B.V. Nagarathna — reacted when Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner Rajneesh Goel told the court categorically that “no uncleared garbage is lying on the streets for more than 24 hours as of today” while explaining that measures taken in awarding contracts to clear garbage would save money.

“Are photos and videos on garbage … a lie?” the Bench further told Mr. Goel.

Superseding council

The Bench warned that it would not hesitate to supersede the elected BBMP council if it emerged that councillors are becoming a hurdle to solve the garbage problem. Every citizen is being troubled due to non-clearance of garbage, Mr. Goel was told.

The Bench’s observations followed a bunch of public interest litigation (PIL) petitions alleging that councillors were interfering with contracts for municipal solid waste (MSW) management (contract for garbage clearance). Mr. Goel apprised the Bench about protests at the Mandur landfill and the huge amount of waste generated due to festivals. He said the garbage dumped near the Freedom Park has been cleared, adding that it was dumped there only so that other parts of the city remained clean.

The Commissioner said the BBMP has now complied with all the environmental norms at Mavallipura as per a Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) order, and it would be available for use within the next couple of days. Steps have been taken for bioremediation of landfills to contain pollution.

Bulk waste generators

The Bench told the Commissioner to take punitive action against commercial establishments such as restaurants and marriage halls that generate large quantity of garbage if they fail to adhere to the terms and conditions for effective disposal of waste. “If you want such establishments to have a mechanism to process waste on their own, then do not collect MSW cess from them and seal the establishments if they do not comply with the norms,” the Bench said.