BANGALORE: It seems like the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ call given by prime minister Narendra Modi to promote cleanliness has fallen on deaf ears. For, just a day after Gandhi Jayanti, when the initiative was given a fillip and observed with much fanfare across Bangalore, the city’s streets were littered with banana stalks, flowers and other waste, mainly due to ‘Ayudha Puja,’ which was celebrated on Friday.
Localities across the city, including Sarakki, V V Puram, Banashankari, Jayanagar, Gandhi Bazaar, JP Nagar, Hebbal, National Games Village, Thippasandra, HAL 2nd Stage and other places were strewn with garbage, which has not only raised a stink, but has also reduced to nothing the efforts of samaritans who helped clean the city on Thursday. Since Thursday, busy market areas in the city have been selling flowers, banana stalks and other items, that has attracted a lot of buyers. This, in turn, has led to an increase in the generation of garbage.
However, the fact that the garbage was not cleared by Saturday by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has irked many residents at various areas in the city. The waste has reportedly not been picked up for as many as three-four days owing to the festive weekend.
“It has been four days since the garbage has been picked up. I stay in an apartment where there is a shortage of space and garbage cannot be stored. The contractor who is supposed to pick up the garbage is not answering our calls. We don’t have an option but to make do with the current situation,” said Ritesh Pandya, a resident of Hebbal.
Sumanth Gowda, a resident of V V Puram, said the portion in front of his house wore a clean look on Thursday. “However, by Friday evening, all I could see was garbage strewn around. I understand that during a festival, garbage is generated, but it is up to the authorities to ensure that the waste is cleared. This has not happened,” he said.
Moreover, questions are being raised about the ‘Swachh Bharat’ mission, and many are wondering if it was just a publicity stunt by the netas and babus, among others. People also believe that if the mission is to be sustained, then it will need a concentrated effort, regardless of whether it is a festival or not.
“People have to be aware. Just because there is a festival, it does not mean that one has a right to litter the streets. I believe that what happened on Thursday, with people taking to the streets with brooms in their hands, was just a fad. The aftermath of the festival, with garbage lying around, proves just that,” said a resident of Banashankari.
When contacted, BBMP Commissioner M Lakshminarayana said it is normal for garbage to accumulate during festivals. “We shall deploy additional staff to clean the garbage. It will be cleared by Sunday evening,” he said. When it was brought to his notice that regular Pourakarmikas were absent on Saturday to clear the waste, Lakshminarayana said he would direct the officials concerned to look into it.
Meanwhile, BBMP solid waste management committee member N S Ramakanth said that there is an increase of about 30-40 per cent in the garbage generated during festivals. “The onus of clearing the garbage falls on the contractor. I have also advised the BBMP to maintain six emergency trucks for garbage disposal, which was used today in Yelahanka. However, I am not very happy with the method by which garbage is collected. There have been cases of contractors dumping garbage at empty sites and other places, which is wrong,” he said.