Residents protest seeking closure of waste processing plant at Chigarenahalli

Communities around the waste processing plant at Chigaranahalli staging a protest on Monday.  

For the fifth consecutive day, garbage-laden trucks were denied entry into the waste processing plant at Chigaranahalli, on the city’s outskirts.

Communities, who are staging a protest under the aegis of Nava Bengaluru Horata Samiti, alleged that leachate from the plant run by MSGP Infratech Pvt. Ltd. has contaminated water sources following the spate of heavy rains.

With residents staging a protest at Gundlahalli Cross on the way to Chigarenahalli, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) had to send back 10 compactors on Monday itself.

Govindaraj, a community leader, told The Hindu that leachate had contaminated the Battarahalli lake and Mavatoorkere, which is in the catchment area of Byragondalu dam. The dam, which is around 5 km from the plant, is part of the Yettinahole water project.

This is not the first time residents have staged protests demanding that the plant be closed.

In March last year, they went on a similar stir and rejected reconciliatory attempts. Later, they met with then Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, who stated that while the plant would continue to function, corrective action would be taken.

Chandra Tejaswi, secretary of Karnataka Pranta Raita Sangha, Bengaluru (Rural) district, claimed that none of the assurances were met. “After the pandemic, the number of vehicles coming to the plant has only increased. No measures have been taken to either reduce the stench or scientifically process the plant,” he said.

After the heavy rains, the leachate flowed out of the plant and contaminated the water sources, and the processing of waste has also reduced drastically, said Mr. Govindaraj. “We were assured that only 40 vehicles would be sent to the plant. However, more than 200 vehicles can be seen going to the plant every day,” he said, and added that it was after a lot of struggle by the local communities that another plant near Doddabelavangala was shut down in 2016.

The BBMP used to send around 500 tonnes of waste to the plant every day. However, since the protest started, waste has been diverted to other processing units and a portion is sent to the landfill.

“Following heavy rains, one of the leachate tanks overflowed and the tank breached. This flowed around 3-4 km and contaminated a few watersheds. We have filed an FIR against the owner of the plant at Chikkabelavangala police station,” explained Sarfaraz Khan, BBMP Joint Commissioner (Solid Waste Management).

The Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police of Bengaluru (Rural) district have been in talks with the communities trying to convince them to withdraw their stir.

Residents had not sought any permission to stage the protest and are they adhering to COVID-19 protocols, said officials. “We are now hoping that residents around other processing plants don’t start protesting, as it will have a cascading effect,” an official said.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 11:41:40 PM |

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