news Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - 05:30
Anisha Sheth | The News Minute | June 17, 2014 | 7.12 pm IST While Bangalore’s Councillors were practising bowling for the upcoming Mayor’s Cup on Tuesday morning, Rajanna was beside his wife’s bed, concerned for her health which deteriorated after a she went on a hunger strike protesting against nine years of waste dumping in her village, Mandur. Mandur is a village on the outskirts of Bangalore, which houses a 169-acre plot landfill in which Bangalore’s solid waste has been dumped for the last nine years. The accumulated garbage was supposed to be scientifically disposed of, but villagers allege that the contractor has done nothing. Villagers have been complaining to the BBMP about the pollution caused by the accumulated garbage, but their repeated entreaties have fallen on deaf ears. As desperate measure, eight villagers began a hunger strike on June 15. Three of them are now in the hospital after their health deteriorated. Rajanna’s wife Prema is one of them.  Rajanna (38) said his wife Prema undertook the fast because she was fed up with the situation. “For the last 10 years they have been dumping garbage in our village. We protested, but no one gave us any importance. We have lost count of the number of times we have taken our children to the hospital,” he says. The couple have two children Tejas studying in Class V and Amulya in Class III. Rajanna said: “My children ask me to take them away (from the village). Even when they go to school the foul smell is there. They can’t sleep peacefully at night because of breathing problems. They get constant headaches because of the smell. It is everywhere.” Srinivas Gowda, another villager, told The News Minute that the villagers had decided to organise a hunger strike because they had no faith in the government. “We will die, but we will not allow them to dump more garbage,” he says. Even the meeting on June 16 with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah did not give him much hope. He said that although the chief minister was sympathetic to their problems, he did not specify a time-frame for solving the village’s problems. “They are trying to escape (responsibility),” Gowda said. During the meeting on June 16, the villagers demanded an inquiry into the contractor firm Srinivas Gayathri Resource Recovery Pvt Ltd. they also demanded that another place be identified for a garbage landfill and that no solid waste be dumped in their village after December 1, and that the existing landfill be covered by mud. They also demanded that the chemical used to dispel the foul smell be tested by the Indian Institute of Science for quality. They also demanded that suitable measures be taken to ensure that the leachate does not permeate to the surrounding areas. But, all’s well that ends well. On Tuesday morning, Bangalore Mayor B S Sathyanarayana led the rest of the BBMP's Councillors in practising bowling and batting techniques at Chinnaswamy Stadium.

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