Temporary relief as Mandur agrees to permit dumping of waste there for three months

The city’s garbage crisis got a temporary reprieve as the communities living around Mandur, near Hoskote, agreed on Monday evening to call off their blockade and permit the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to dump waste there for another three months.

The communities had been preventing dumping for more than a week and on Sunday, in a desperate attempt to rid the city off thousands of tonnes of festering garbage, Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code was imposed on Mandur (which prevents public assembly of people), so that dumping of waste could resume.

Mayor D. Venkatesh Murthy, Mahadevapura MLA Arvind Limbavali and BBMP Commissioner Rajneesh Goel held talks with the community members on Monday and promised them that by January-end, no more garbage would be sent to Mandur.

To be tapered off

BBMP Commissioner Rajneesh Goel told The Hindu that 225 lorry loads of garbage will be sent to Mandur every day and every month, the number will be reduced by 75 a day.

“Hopefully, by the end of January, we will be in a position to manage the waste without having to depend on the Mandur landfill. This means that segregation of waste will have to be strengthened,” he said.

For nearly three months now, the city has been facing upheavals in garbage disposal. The BBMP appears to have no definite workable strategy as communities living around landfills continue their agitation against dumping of garbage in their backyard.

It is now trying to silence the community around S. Bingipura, off Electronics City, by dumping there under heavy police protection.

Real estate lobby

The problem at the landfill sites arose when the State government reduced the buffer zone from 1 km to around 500 metres five years ago, reportedly under the real estate lobby’s pressure.

Vaman Acharya, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board Chairperson, went so far as to say that the buffer zone around landfill sites “practically does not exist”.

Mr. Venkatesh Murthy said that reinstating the 1-km buffer zone around landfills would go a long way in protecting the communities in these areas. He said that he will to write to the State government in this connection.

Demands unmet

He told presspersons here on Monday that protests erupted when the BBMP could not meet all their demands, including improvement of the area and providing drinking water, in a month’s time.

After discussions with Mr. Limbavali, in whose constituency Mandur landfill is located, the BBMP has earmarked Rs. 8 crore for development of 29 roads there, and Rs. 35 lakh to supply potable water, besides giving the tender to spray chemicals to reduce stench and mosquito menace to Pioneer Recruiters and Management.

Curious explanation

He said that the protests at S. Bingipura were politically motivated.

BBMP land

“The land belongs to the BBMP, which has spent nearly Rs. 67 lakh in fencing the area and improving roads there. However, there are people indulging in illegal quarrying there. Fearing business losses, they and their henchmen protested against garbage being dumped there,” he said.

He, however, had no convincing reply when asked why BBMP kept silent for so long even after knowing that illegal quarrying was being carried out on its property.

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