Five DWCCs gutted in fires in 15 days, foul play suspected

These dry waste collection centres were managed mostly by women

Published - February 12, 2021 06:22 am IST

Over the past 15 days, five dry waste collection centres (DWCCs) across the city have been gutted. They are located in Marathahalli, Gottigere, Ganesh Mandir, J.P. Nagar and Kumaraswamy Layout wards and were destroyed in fires between January 25 and February 9.

These centres were managed mostly by women.

Suspecting foul play, Nalini Shekar from Hasiru Dala, which manages some of the DWCCs, told The Hindu that all these centres were being managed better than the others in the city. “How is it that five well-performing centres have been gutted? There is something fishy,” she said.

Hasiru Dala has over the past three years written several times to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) about the need for urgent repairs at the centres in Gottigere, Ganesh Mandir, Kumaraswamy Layout and J.P. Nagar.

She pointed out that local civic officials were blaming managers of these centres for the fires, especially in the case of the DWCC in Kumaraswamy Layout.

Sampangi, who managed the centre, said she got to know of the fire around 5.30 a.m. on Tuesday. “There is nothing left. I have lost material worth at least ₹1 lakh. Local residents supported me all along, yet the local officials are blaming me for the fire,” she said.

Ms. Shekar pointed out that Hasiru Dala had tried getting insurance for the DWCCs in 2013-14 with a PSU company. However, after one year, the company refused to renew the policy. They approached another PSU insurance company last year, but DWCC managers were not able to renew the same this year as most of the bills are yet to be cleared by the BBMP, she alleged.

She urged BBMP to file a police complaint for an investigation into these fires, restore the buildings within a week, provide fire insurance to all DWCCs, clear all pending bills and compensate the managers for the loss incurred due to the fires.

BBMP Special Commissioner (Solid Waste Management) D. Randeep admitted that there seems to be some foul play. “I have directed local officials to investigate and file complaints with the jurisdictional police stations,” he said.

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