Three of seven waste processing plants shut for 6 months

One of the plants, officials claim, was shut following oral instructions from the Chief Minister’s office

Published - August 25, 2020 08:37 pm IST

A file photo of a solution being sprayed on segregated waste at a processing plant to control odour.

A file photo of a solution being sprayed on segregated waste at a processing plant to control odour.

The city’s waste management system continues to battle challenges, among them opposition from local communities living around wet waste processing plants. Three of seven waste processing plants have remained shut for nearly six months now, and the latest objection to be added to this list is from a political and cultural organisation.

Sources claimed that the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) got directions – albeit oral – from the Chief Minister’s office to close operations at the Seegehalli plant due to proximity to a school run by a political and cultural organisation.

The school is around three km away from the Seegehalli plant. “As per oral directions from the Chief Minister’s office, we have shut down operations,” another source said, adding that the plant existed before the school.

While the Lingadheeranahalli plant has been shut following directions from the National Green Tribunal (NGT), opposition from local communities around Subbarayanaplaya was “politically motivated”, sources added.

Below capacity

Sources from the BBMP’s Solid Waste Management Department said that the closure of the three plants had affected waste processing. The installed capacity of more than 2,100 tonnes per day is being under-utilised as well, with just around 600 tonnes reaching the plants at Chikkanagamangala, Kannahalli, Doddabidarakallu, and that of the Karnataka Compost Development Corporation. This is just a fraction of the approximately 5,000 tonnes of waste that is generated in the city every day.

The High Court of Karnataka has, on multiple occasions, directed the BBMP to revive all the seven waste processing plants and run them at optimum capacity. While pointing out that no one has the authority to shut down waste processing plants, BBMP sources said they would be inviting contempt of court if the plants are not revived soon.

Sources said that the BBMP is preparing to appeal against the NGT order on closure of the Lingadheeranahalli plant, but officials are still trying to figure out how to deal with political opposition to the two other plants.

Continued opposition

A few months ago, members of the local communities had barged into the Subbarayanapalya plant and set fire to it.

“We took all precautions to reduce the stench and hoped to reopen the plant. However, we continue to face opposition. We have been requesting the police to convene a meeting with representatives of local communities to resolve the issue, but over the past four months, no such meeting has been convened,” sources said.

“We will also bring this up during the coordination committee meeting chaired by Chief Secretary T.M. Vijay Bhaskar apart from apprising the Additional Chief Secretary of Urban Development Department about the issues,” sources said.

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