BENGALURU: Villagers at Mandur were generous and gave 130 acres for dumping Bengaluru’s waste for nine years. Now they are paying heavy price for every drop of water they use.
Mandur, located 15 km from K R Puram, was taking city’s waste since 2005. The quantity of waste increased after BMP (Bangalore Mahanagara Palike) became BBMP in 2007. Till last year, the City used to send 1,200 tonnes of waste to the two landfill sites in Mandur.
After Mavallipura landfill was shut in 2012, waste that was going there was diverted to Mandur. This led to protests by the villagers. Finally, Chief Minister Siddaramiah intervened and sought time for stopping the dumping. The landfiills were closed in November 2014. At present, around 40 lakh tonnes of unprocessed waste has accumulated in the landfills.
Srinivasa (name changed) who owns five acres of land close to the landfill site, has stopped all agricultural activities. The leachate from landfill sites entered his land, contaminated underground water and has damaged crops. “Srinivasa can neither grow ragi nor flowers. He cannot even sell the land as there are no takers. Farmers don’t offer to buy his land as they are aware that they cannot farm in his field. He cannot give it to real estate firms either to develop it into residential site due to the enveloping stench and mosquitoes,” said Mahesha (name changed) who owns land next to Srinivas’ farm.
Villagers have to rely on water from outside as the water bodies in the village have turned toxic. “Byapanahalli Lake, located less than a kilometre from the landfill sites, is heavily contaminated. Once, this lake used to be a major drinking water source. Now, the water is not fit even for cattle. A neighbour’s cow drank this water and developed ulcers in the mouth. So we make sure our cattle don’t drink this water,” said Mariyamma, who grazes her six sheep and one cow near the landfill.
“After the BBMP stopped sending waste, things are better. However, some allege that Palike still sends trucks during night,” said Chandrappa, a ragi farmer who has switched over to growing roses due to the poor ragi yield.