Bangalore’s hydra-headed garbage problem is far from over. Just as everything seems to be returning to normal, another problem is right round the corner.
An inquiry into last month’s violence allegedly resorted to by Mandur villagers, and several loopholes in a letter of assurance by BBMP to the villagers stating that garbage would not be dumped near their village after January 29, 2013, may trigger a massive protest by the villagers.
The Avalahalli police — under whose jurisdiction Mandur falls — are investigating into last month’s violence which saw at least 20 garbage-carrying trucks pelted with stones and some set on fire because they were dumping garbage before 10 pm. They have summoned seven villagers for grilling over the incidents.
The villagers informed DNA that they have warned the police that if the summoned villagers are harassed or booked over the incident, they would launch another big protest that is certain to derail garbage disposal at the Mandur landfill close to the village, which takes in at least 2,000 tonnes of garbage everyday.
The Mandur villagers’ protests so far has frequently seen garbage-laden trucks being stopped and returned to the city. This has time and again added to the garbage woes of the city in the absence of a huge landfill as an alternative to Mandur. That, in turn, has seen the returned or ignored garbage being dumped in vacant sites within city limits, which is not just a sight for sore eyes but is also threatening to be a health hazard.
The latest problem could see Bangalore once again grappling with the garbage problem on a much bigger scale as the recently concluded Dasara and Deepawali festivals have left the city with a huge backlog of garbage added to the 4,000 tonnes of daily garbage generated.
The villagers have maintained that last month’s violence, including stone-pelting and setting the trucks on fire, was not their doing. But on Saturday, the Avalahalli police called some of the villagers and summoned them for questioning over last month’s violence. The police have identified seven villagers for questioning, which has irked the Mandur villagers.
Bairesh, one of the villagers summoned by the police, told DNA, “Seven persons who names were mentioned, including mine, did not participate in the incident on that day; but police have called us. We will go on Monday and ask them what is the issue. But if they book us without proper information and evidence, we will start a protest again and make sure that not even a single lorry would enter the village to dump garbage.”
He has blamed local politics at play for his and the other six villagers’ names to be included in the police list for grilling.
The villagers have also seen red over BBMP not giving them a foolproof assurance in writing, stating that garbage would not be dumped at the Mandur Landfill after January 29.
Some villagers told DNA that although an assurance was given in writing to that effect, there were several loopholes as it did not mention the survey numbers, and details of units.
The villagers are now demanding that a complete letter of assurance with all the details be handed over to them duly signed by health minister Aravind Limbavali and mayor D Venkatesh Murthy within a week, failing which they would resume their protests intensely.