Doddabelavangala residents demand closure of waste processing plant

Villagers are on an indefinite strike demanding closure of a waste processing unit and scrapping of a proposal to set up a waste-to-energy plant at Doddabelavangala near Doddaballapur on the outskirts of Bengaluru.   | Photo Credit: Handout E Mail

Many community members from Doddabelavangala have been protesting since Friday demanding that the civic body close the waste processing unit in their village on the ground that it is being mismanaged and contaminating their water sources.

They also demanded that the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) scrap plans to revive another processing plant, near Doddaballapur on the outskirts of the city, by setting up a waste-to-energy plant.

Protesters, on Monday, boycotted a meeting with Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa and civic officials, and continued their indefinite strike. Last week, residents had submitted a memorandum to BBMP’s Joint Commissioner (Solid Waste Management) Sarfaraz Khan demanding that any plans to revive the processing plant near Doddaballapur be scrapped.

Govindaraj from Doddabelavangala claimed that the community had protested against mismanagement at the plant, forcing the then State government to order closure of the unit in 2016.

Chandra Tejaswi, secretary, Karnataka Pranta Raita Sangha, Bengaluru Rural district, alleged that instead of processing waste, only mountains of waste were created. “The then Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had assured us that the accumulated waste would be processed. Nothing has been done so far,” he said, and claimed that the private company responsible for running the waste processing unit in Doddabelavangala was not following the standard operating procedure.

“This area is the catchment for the Byragondalu dam that is around 5 km away. The dam is part of the Yettinahole water project. Already, water sources here are contaminated due to leachate from the plant,” he said.

BBMP officials admitted that the civic body was exploring options to enhance its processing capacities in view of the observations made by the Karnataka High Court recently. The HC had observed that the BBMP did not have adequate processing capacities.

An official claimed that the proposal to set up a waste-to-energy plant is still at a discussion stage.

BBMP Commissioner B.H. Anil Kumar, accompanied by CM’s Political Advisor and Yelahanka MLA S.R. Vishwanath, is likely to visit the village on Tuesday to convince the community members to withdraw their indefinite strike. Mr. Anil Kumar had earlier visited the village to convince the community members to withdraw their strike, but to no avail.

Three waste processing units not receiving daily loads

Every day, the civic body used to send around 180 trucks carrying around 500 tonnes (200 tonnes of mixed waste and 300 tonnes of segregated, wet waste) to the Doddabelavangala plant alone.

However, senior BBMP officials said that this is no longer the case on account of the protest.

At present, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is unable to send garbage to three waste processing units. Some of the waste is currently being diverted to another unit, but most is being sent to the landfill at Mittaganahalli.

Since Sunday, waste is not being sent to Kannahalli and Seegehalli processing plants. This is because a convention of the RSS is being held in the area.

“We had received a request from the organisation to temporarily not send waste to the processing units till the end of the convention. The waste will be sent only after March 17,” an official said.

The BBMP is unable to divert the segregated waste completely to the remaining processing units for fear of protests by communities living around these plants.

“Most of the garbage is now being dumped in the landfill at Mittaganahalli,” the official said and pointed out that the Bellahalli quarry pit was recently closed.

The official added that the BBMP had no other option, as with the onset of summer, the threat of communicable diseases was looming. Already, the BBMP has been firefighting to control the spread of cholera, besides creating awareness about Covid-19.

“Cleanliness is key to check the spread of communicable diseases. This is why most of the garbage from the city is cleared and is being dumped in the Mittaganahalli landfill,” the official explained.

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Printable version | Oct 29, 2021 1:26:23 AM |

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