BENGALURU: As the protest by ASHAs entered the second day on Friday, heaps of garbage has piled up on the premises of Freedom Park on Seshadri Road. While BBMP blamed the city police for not informing them about the protest earlier, police said it is the civic agency’s responsibility to clear the waste.
This is not without precedent as authorities have blamed each other for similar reasons in the past. Bengaluru’s most popular protest sites include Freedom Park, Town Hall and the Basavanna statue at Chalukya Circle.
“Freedom Park has become the ‘Kashi’ of protesters. They prefer this place as it is very close to Vidhana Soudha. We do not charge for protesting outside the Freedom park premises. However, for events inside Freedom Park, we charge the organisers,’’ said a BBMP official.
Somashekar, BBMP curator, Freedom Park, told Express that it is the police who give permission to protesters. “We know, it is their responsibility of giving permission. But they never bother to inform us. When protesters show up in large numbers, they mess up the place with food packets, water bottles, tissues and other waste, making the place look like a landfill. It is BBMP which cleans it in the end,’’ he said.
Somashekar said that there are 14 pourakarmikas working in this area. “They have to pick up the waste from commercial establishments in and around, sweep streets and also do door-to-door collection from individual houses. If there is a protest, these 14 people will be have more burdened. For instance, during the ASHA workers’ protest, since Thursday, we get at least two truckloads of waste at a time. Will it not be inhuman to make them do additional work?’’ he said.
Another senior BBMP officer said, “As these protesters are women, we allow them to use the toilets inside Freedom Park which we are not supposed to do. Over 8,000 people are using the toilets and we have only one or two of our people cleaning them.” On the other hand, police reiterated that its not their job to clean protest venues. Upparpet Sub-Inspector Satish said that it was the BBMP’s responsibility to clean the place.