The BJP-ruled Bangalore civic administration has promised to rid country's IT hub from thousands of tonnes of overflowing garbage by Monday but doubts persist as its hunt for land to dump it has not made much headway.
The promise stems from the small success Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, the third Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) leader to head the state government in four years, had with residents of Mandur on Bangalore outskirts to allow resumption of garbage dumping in the landfill near their area.
The residents around Mandur, about 45 km north of Bangalore, have agreed to do so only for one month on several conditions which Shettar has agreed.
The conditions include compensation for crop loss because of water pollution from the dumped garbage, supply of clean drinking water by the Bangalore civic agency through tankers, measures to check the stink from the accumulated garbage.
With Bangalore generating around 5,000 tonnes of garbage daily, there is little space left in the Mandur landfill area to receive it. Hitherto it was being dumped in two other landfills, besides Mandur.
Of the two, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board has ordered closure of one at Mavallipura, the biggest of the three landfills spread over 48 acres. The other one nearby is known as Terra Firma landfill as it managed by that firm. All three are in Doddaballapur taluk or revenue subdivision, about 45 km north of Bangalore.
Bangalore Mayor D. Venkatesh Murthy said the civic body - Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) or Greater Bangalore City Corporation - will remove the accumulated garbage to Mandur by Monday.
Murthy Friday had promised to clear the garbage within 72 hours, this was followed after Shetter met villagers around Mundur dumpyard late Thursday.
Additional trucks and workers would be deployed for the purpose, Murthy said.
Shettar has also promised to engage at the earliest private firms with expertise in waste disposal as a permanent solution to the problem, which has been getting worse by the month as Bangalore population continues to grow at a rapid pace spurred by job opportunities in IT, health, hospitality and realty sectors.
In a decade between 2001 and 2011 the city population has grown enormously from around five million to over eight million, largely because of the its transformation as country's IT hub, which in turn led to boom in realty, hospitality, retail and health sectors.
Efforts by the civic authorities and several NGOs to popularize segregation of waste at home has not had much impact, worsening the problem created by lax BBMP in proper disposal of waste.
The citizens have reason to feel let down by the BBMP as it has been mopping up millions of rupees from them in the name of solid waste management cess.
For instance, a person residing in 1,200 sq feet house has to pay monthly Rs.30 as waste disposal cess. The cess is higher for commercial, industrial and hotel establishments.
A small relief from the garbage mess could be that BBMP may keep in abeyance its proposal to double the solid waste management cess from next year.