BBMP to turn Mavallipura landfill into crematorium
Villagers have started a dharna at the landfill site, even as work has started, Committee formed to ensure that all facilities are in place at crematoriums
BENGALURU: A waste landfill is no place to cremate or bury the dead, and the BBMP’s proposal to create an ‘open crematorium’ at Mavallipura has shocked and angered many in this village and surrounding areas. Villagers have started a dharna at the landfill site, even as work started on Thursday to create a temporary cremation ground for Covid victims for the next two months. On Wednesday afternoon, police and revenue officials had visited the landfill site in Mavallipura to inspect and start preparations, and appeals by villagers did not deter them from going ahead with their plan.
After two decades of wilful dumping of waste at this village, the Karnataka High Court closed the Mavallipura landfill site in 2012. However, till date, there are no directions by the court, nor any mitigation measures in place to tackle the severe health and pollution problems faced by the villagers.
B Sreenivas, resident and petitioner in this case, told TNIE that residents of about 12 villages located 1km from the landfill, are agitated and have appealed to BBMP to stop the work.
“This is no place to cremate the dead, and as it is, toxic leachate from the unlined landfill site that polluted the local lake and groundwater has killed many. Work is going on on Survey No. 8 to create an open crematorium. This is a new problem for us and nobody has slept in this area for the past few days…”
Urging BBMP to drop the project, Mavallipura residents, Dalit Sangharsh Samithi and the Environment Support Group (ESG) said the thought of cremating the dead in a landfill is itself shocking. Leo Saldanha, ESG, added, “Bengaluru, in particular BBMP, will earn the horrific distinction of being the only civic body globally of forcing the bereaved to bury their dead in a landfill. There are other dignified and accessible places in the city for cremating the dead in a respectful manner.”
In a letter to BBMP Commissioner and Bengaluru (Urban) DC, they said, “Till date, no effort has been made by BBMP to right the deadly mess created in Mavallipura. In fact, two separate orders -- on 31.10.2014 and 5.12.2014 -- by the Karnataka High Court had directed BBMP to bio-mine and decontaminate the toxic mess that has accumulated in Mavallipura due to illegal dumping of the city’s waste for over two decades.
The court had specifically directed BBMP to bio-mine the accumulated waste and only allow “processing of segregated organic waste” which had been gathered from local wards on a temporary basis.”
Environmentalists appealed to BBMP to find a more suitable place to address the crematoria crisis. Given that the High Court is seized of the Mavallipura matter, it is imperative that no action in violation of the High Court’s directives is taken by BBMP or any other authority. On their part, BBMP officials said they were looking into the matter and adhering to all court directions.