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Mavallipura: Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind?

Groundwater and lakes are contaminated, a stench fills the air even two kilometres from the landfill.

Published: 17th June 2014 07:47 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th June 2014 10:26 AM   |  A+A-

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BANGALORE: Two years after the landfill was closed and garbage trucks from Bangalore stopped entering the village, life has not changed for the better for residents of Mavallipura and surrounding villages.

Groundwater and lakes are contaminated, a stench fills the air even two kilometres from the landfill and villagers have no respite from health worries.

The landfill was shut in July 2012 after villagers staged protests and the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) intervened. Little did the villagers imagine that this would also mean an end to the facilities they received when the garbage was being dumped in their backyard.

Promises Not Kept

According to Mavallipura gram panchayat member Srinivas, the BBMP stopped providing drinking water and holding medical camps when the garbage trucks stayed clear of the village.

“Not a single officer from BBMP or KSPCB visited Mavallipura after that. BBMP authorities had promised to take care of medical expenses of people suffering form ailments due to garbage. Nothing has been done,” he added.

Leachate from the landfill sites has contaminated Koramarakunte and Mavallipura lakes, the only two sources of water in the locality. With this, 11 villages - Lingarajapura, Mylapanahalli, Ramagondanahalli, Subedarpalya, Kurubarahalli, Muttugadahalli, Chikkabylakere, Doddabylakere, Kondashettyhalli, Madugerehalli and Shivanakotehalli - have been forced to rely on external sources of water.

Yallappa, a farmer at Mavallipura, said the garbage menace has killed at least 30 of his goats in the last few years. “My cattle used to drink contaminated water from the lakes. Flies and mosquitoes spread diseases among the animals and they died,” he said.

Yallappa now gets one load of water (4,000 litres) for Rs. 450 from Yelahanka for his cattle. One tanker lasts him for a fortnight.

“For us, we have to go to Mylapanahalli to get potable water. We boil it before using,” he said.

Mavallipura being a green belt, water can be found even at 150 feet but is unfit for use, he rued.

Plight of Villagers

Ravi (34), a farmer who grows ragi, is suffering from kidney ailments.  “One of my kidneys is not working. I go for dialysis to M S Ramaiah Hospital twice a week. I am spending Rs. 1,600 for dialysis and another Rs. 1,600 for injections. All this is because of garbage.

“BBMP authorities gave assurances but did nothing,” he shrugged.

Another villager said his neighbour’s eight-year-old son is suffering from a rare bone disease and his growth has also been affected.

Srinivas maintained that Bangaloreans too are to be blamed for the villagers’ plight.

“One cannot just blame BBMP. People should also co-operate and segregate waste at source,” he said.

Birds at the landfill sites also affect operations at the Air Force Station in Yelahanka, which is 5.7 km from the village.

Adjustment, No Improvements

According to Dhanaraj, another farmer who grows tomatoes and beans at Mavallipura, things have improved after authorities stopped dumping garbage.

“I own two acres and I used to spend on sprays to keep flies away. If I get 10 baskets of tomatoes, five baskets will be rotten. But after an end to the garbage dumping, yield is better now,” he said.

Anil, a farmer who owns three acres at Kurubarahalli, is trying to make do with what he has. “I used to grow grapes. Groundwater was tested a couple of months ago and it is still unfit for grape cultivation. Now for my livelihood, I grow tomato, ridge and cabbage,” he said.

No Seriousness in Dealing With Crisis: Doreswamy

Freedom fighter H S Doreswamy, social activists and Aam Admi Party members began a three-day protest on Monday, demanding the government and the BBMP to stop dumping the city’s waste in landfills at Mandur. The protests will be held from 10 am to 1 pm. Doreswamy said he will meet Chief Minister Siddaramaiah after the protest but refused to meet the BBMP Commissioner, the Mayor and District In-charge Minister R Ramalinga Reddy. “They are not serious about resolving the issue. Three of them are responsible for clamping prohibitory orders,” Doreswamy said. He also accused political leaders of being involved in the garbage mafia. Social activist B T Lalitha Naik too demanded that Siddaramaiah solve the crisis at the earliest. 

‘Mandur Must Close’

Mavallipura gram panchayat member Srinivas said unscientific dumping of waste should be stopped at all places, including Mandur. “There too, people are suffering like Mavallipura residents. Mandur landfill sites have to close,” he said. Mavallipura villagers are planning to visit Mandur after Wednesday to extend their support. “The government and the BBMP are fooling villagers by saying that setting up processing units in our backyard will leave no stench and remnants. If so, why can’t they put up processing units at Palace Grounds and dump waste there?. Let city waste be disposed off within BBMP limits,” he maintained.

Reddy Feigns Ignorance

District In-charge Minister R Ramalinga Reddy said when he visited Mavallipura last year, along with then Union Minister M Veerappa Moily, the landfill sites were capped (covered with soil). Asked about the current situation, Reddy said local MLA Vishwanath will have the answers. “This landfill problem occurred before we came to power. I am not aware of their problems. No one from Mavallipura approached us. If they do, we will act,” he said.

Messed Up Place

Mavallipura, near Yelahanka, was a gomala land and was used as a dumping yard from 2002. In 2004, the then BMP entrusted Ramky Infrastructure Private Ltd to set up a processing unit at the landfill and gave 25 acres. At present, 25 lakh tonnes of waste is accumulated 80 feet below ground level. At least 12 people have died due to ailments caused due to the garbage, the villagers said. This apart, 30 acres at Jarakabande Kaval was also a dumping yard. This was closed in 2006 and 15 lakh tonnes of waste lies untreated.

No Seriousness in Dealing With Crisis: Doreswamy

Freedom fighter H S Doreswamy, social activists and Aam Admi Party members began a three-day protest on Monday, demanding the government and the BBMP to stop dumping the city’s waste in landfills at Mandur. The protests will be held from 10 am to 1 pm. Doreswamy said he will meet Chief Minister Siddaramaiah after the protest but refused to meet the BBMP Commissioner, the Mayor and District In-charge Minister R Ramalinga Reddy. “They are not serious about resolving the issue. Three of them are responsible for clamping prohibitory orders,” Doreswamy said. He also accused political leaders of being involved in the garbage mafia. Social activist B T Lalitha Naik too demanded that Siddaramaiah solve the crisis at the earliest. 

More from Bengaluru.

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