Residents of Srinagara extension in Hassan city were protesting in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office on Tuesday, demanding ‘fresh air’. They were angry with Hassan City Municipal Council and the district administration for forcing them to inhale the foul smell of municipal waste dumped close to their locality over the years.

About 700 families have been living in the locality for the last 25 years. They have been urging the government to declare their locality as a slum, so they can avail various benefits under schemes meant for slum-dwellers.

The Hassan City Municipal Council has been dumping wastes in an abandoned plot close to this locality for several years. Repeated demands to clear it have not made any impact.

“The waste includes the carcass of animals from slaughterhouses. Even the workers of slaughterhouses, who come to dispose of the waste, run away in haste. But these people have been living there for so many years,” said H.T. Ramegowda, State convener of the Karnataka Kolegeri Nivasigala Samyukta Sanghatane (KKNSS).

The residents said they had been suffering from respiratory problems due to lack of fresh air.

Huligamma, a resident of the locality, said she and her neighbours had been living without basic amenities.

“Of the total residents in the locality, only 272 have got houses under the HUDCO programme; the rest live in huts. We need good houses and proper drinking water supply. And, we need fresh air to breathe,” she said.

Hassan CMC is developing a landfill site at Agile village about 15 km from the city.

As work is yet to been completed, the CMC has not been able to shift the garbage dumped in the city limits.

CMC Commissioner Nagabhushan told The Hindu that the council had ordered a detailed project report on shifting garbage. “The work at Agile plant is not complete. As soon as the landfill site is ready, we will shift the garbage,” he promised.

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