BENGALURU: Thousands of residents of apartments in Bengaluru took to the streets to stage a silent protest on Sunday. They formed a human chain in 30 locations in the city over concerns including introduction of new rules for having sewage treatment plants (STP) in old apartments, other existing STP norms, water tariff and irregular garbage collection.
These residents said they are victims of indifference and apathy of civic agencies. The protesters were from Bannerghatta Road, JP Nagar, Jayanagar, Banashankari, HSR Layout, Bellandur, Rajarajeshwari Nagar, Malleswaram, RT Nagar, Hebbal, Old Madras Road, Old Airport Road and Koramangala among other areas.
Muralidhar Rao, vice president of Bangalore Apartments’ Federation, said, “There has been a stirring response from thousands of apartment residents for the rally. We have seen participation from all parts of Bengaluru and across all age groups.”
Some protesters also alleged that they were being discriminated against. Vidya Goggi, Joint Secretary of BAF, said, “Apartment communities are socially responsible with 100 per cent garbage segregation, implementation of rainwater harvesting systems and wet waste management systems and all cesses and taxes paid on time. Despite that, we have become soft targets for continuous harassment.”
Among the several contentions the residents had, they said it was impractical of the government to expect them to ensure there is zero sewage discharge from their apartments. Besides, they sought to know why they had to foot heavy bills though their water consumption was the same as that of individual households. Vikram Rai, treasurer of BAF said, “We want impossible regulations like retrospective STP and zero liquid discharge (ZLD) norms for existing STPs to be immediately reversed. We also want water tariff to be the same as for independent houses as we are no different.”
Speaking to Express, Srikanth Narasimhan, general secretary of BAF, said, “It is illogical to expect the old apartments to have STPs now. Also, with the existing ones, it is impossible to consume water 100 per cent,” he said. Narasimhan explained that even as STPs were used to the best extent possible, some amount of water would still remain impossible to use.
BWSSB press meet a messy affair
The press conference organised by BWSSB turned out to be messy. Engineer in Chief Kemparamaiah, who was addressing the meet, along with other Chief Engineers left midway to take part in a live interaction with a Kannada TV channel — in the same room. Chief Engineer
H M Ravindra did not have figures when asked to provide statistics on apartments that received notices for not installing STPs.
Where Stps Are Compulsory
Apartments with 50 flats and above or residential buildings measuring 5,000 square meters and above
Apartments with 20 flats and above or buildings having a total built up area of 2,000 square meter including basement
Commercial constructions with total built up area of 2,000 square meters and above
Educational institutions having total built up area of 5,000 square meters and above
Townships and area development projects with an area of 10 acres and above