Jayanagar based N Mukund, Joint Secretary of Citizens Action Forum, sent us a hard hitting letter on the city’s garbage mess. This year, BBMP has raised the garbage cess it is collecting as part of property tax. It came a day before the latest nightmare at the Mavallipura landfill, which was about to unfold.
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Mukund is challenging BBMP to explain what it has done with the garbage cess collected with the property tax last year and questions the body’s decision to raise the cess this year. “As citizens, we wish to know how the steps taken by BBMP for the past one year has improved the city’s waste management problem”, he writes. “Has BBMP enforced segregation at source, constructed dry waste collection centers at each ward, guaranteed that sufficient lorries are deployed every day, have they taken care of health hazards of pourkarmikas..”, he asks.
Not stopping there, he adds that officials and elected representatives have travelled to Mumbai, Pune and abroad as a part of study tour on handling garbage, and it is not clear their visits benefited Bangalore’s mounting garbage problem. “What is the justification for collecting more cess”, he asks.
Mukund is plain: he believes BBMP is taking citizens for a ride.
Far away in Mavallipura, another group of citizens also believe BBMP is taking them for the ride, and a life-threatening one. Villagers living around Bengaluru’s massive landfill here which receives thousands of tons of Bengaluru’s garbage are frustrated. The landfill has led to a health disaster and villagers have been up in arms for years. Recently, the state’s pollution watchdog ordered the BBMP to suspend sending city waste to the site, until the processing problems had been sorted out. However, BBMP managed to get the state government to reverse the decision and on August 23rd, trucks laden with the city’s garbage were back there, with hundreds of police to stop villagers from resistance.
This is the state of affairs in global Bengaluru with its swanky malls, campuses and upmarket communities. The comprehensive breakdown in waste management from source to disposal has an ugly political side to it which will likely blow up sooner rather than later.
The assembly elections are not that far away. “We will also make garbage management an issue for next assembly elections”, threatens Mukund, is his letter. We hope the villagers of Mavallipura will also take it up at election time in their area. If garbage can become a public issue across the Bangalore region in the 2013 elections, it can only be a good thing.⊕