The standoff between the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and the communities living around the landfills in Mandur continued as a meeting held on Wednesday to discuss the issue ended inconclusively.
While the communities continue to stick to their demands, the BBMP was non-committal about whether the garbage from the city would continue to be sent to the landfills after February. At a meeting held last October, the BBMP had assured the community leaders garbage would not be dumped from February 1.
Though the meeting — between some 50 community leaders from Mandur and surrounding villages, local MLA and Minister for Health and Family Welfare Arvind Limbavali, MPs P.C. Mohan and D.B. Chandre Gowda, Mayor D. Venkatesh Murthy and Commissioner Siddaiah — ended in an impasse, the communities and Mr. Limbavali maintained that BBMP had agreed to stop dumping from February 1; Commissioner Siddaiah and Mayor Murthy claimed otherwise.
The two main demands of the communities are total stoppage of dumping in the landfill and processing the accumulated waste there. Srinivas Gowda, community leader from Mandur, told The Hindu the communities would “at no cost allow dumping to continue after February 1”. “The communities in Mandur, Bidarahalli, Kammanahalli and Byappanahalli are most affected. We are leading our lives surrounded by filth from the city every day. The BBMP has not kept its word on reducing the number of garbage trucks and we are not ready to take the Commissioner’s word now,” said Gopal Rao, Mandur resident.
Mr. Limbavali told presspersons after the meeting that 135 acres in Mandur were full with garbage not being processed at all. The BBMP continued to send more than 150 truckloads of garbage to the landfills, much to the residents’ chagrin. He said the community leaders had demanded that BBMP find alternative sites to ease Mandur’s burden.
Meanwhile, Mr. Siddaiah and Mr. Murthy claimed that the BBMP was exploring all options. “We have identified land to set up processing units and Karnataka State Pollution Control Board has already approved it. The government is likely to accord its permission for it in a day or two. The process of readying these landfills will be completed in a month, following which the quantum of garbage sent to Mandur will be reduced.”
The Commissioner said there were 37 companies that had submitted their proposals to set up processing centres. Of these, more than five companies have evinced interest to set up plants in Mandur to clear the accumulated waste. KSPCB had also approved the reopening of Mavallipura landfill, where processing of the existing waste will be take up. The BBMP hoped to give work orders by the first week of March. “If these alternative arrangements take time to fructify, we will have no option but to continue to send waste to Mandur. We will then meet with the communities again and convince them,” he added.