Today, the 2nd of Dec, 2017, saw the residents of several apartment buildings which are part of the Bangalore Apartment Federation (BAF) taking to a silent protest in the streets.
The protest was against the continuous and endless barrage of harassment they are being subjected to by the government and civic agencies of Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB)
As R Balasubramanian, President of BAF, says, “Older apartments constructed in the ’70s, ’80s & ’90s, which are not in any way polluting, have been mandated to install STPs retrospectively, which is impossible. And for apartments built since 2007 with properly functioning STPs, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has been issuing notices on the grounds that they should not let out even properly treated water, which is completely absurd. In all these cases, apartments have been threatened with disconnection of power and water and initiation of criminal action despite being innocent, law-abiding and non-polluting citizens.”
Muralidhar Rao, Vice President of BAF, adds, “BWSSB charges apartment residents 300% more for water compared to individual houses. BBMP collects solid waste management cess from apartments but refuses to collect their segregated garbage. Apartments not connected to the sewage network are being forced to pay sanitation cess. Many apartments are being denied access to Cauvery water connection despite having paid lakhs of rupees for the same. The harassment list is endless.”
Several efforts to hold talks with the officials have been fruitless, and hence the decision to stage this protest was taken.
Apartment residents in Banashankari, Bannerghatta Road, Bellandur, Banashankari, H S R Layout, Hebbal, Jayanagar, J P Nagar, Koramangala, Malleswaram, Mysore Road, Old Airport Road, Old Madras Road, and RT Nagar, among others, have joined this protest.
You can see a video of the residents of an apartment building in J P Nagar,
The Bangalore Police were also on duty, covering the event to prevent any untoward happenings.
Here is Sri Rama Shetty, watching over the proceedings.
With reports about the Apartment Rally coming out a few days prior, KSPCB called the BAF Governing Council Members for a meeting on 30th November. The issues and impracticality of retrospective STPs as well as Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) norms of existing STPs were represented by the Governing Council of BAF, based on which the Chairman of KSPCB immediately issued orders for cancellation of all notices issued to apartments, both with STPs as well as without STPs. Quite a few apartments started receiving letters from the very next day, i.e. 1st December, with the following wording – “It is to be informed that the notices issued by this office regarding discharging of treated / untreated sewage / providing sewage treatment plant is WITHDRAWN.” The word WITHDRAWN is actually written in bold & capital letters and underlined in the letter.