Irked by the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board’s inaction on its staff letting out sewage into a stormwater drain on September 19, a citizen delegation, led by 100-year-old freedom fighter HS Doreswamy, has lodged a police complaint on Wednesday. Based on the complaint, Ashok Nagar Police have registered a First Information Report (FIR) against BWSSB officials under multiple sections.
The FIR has been registered under section 268 (public nuisance), 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection), 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection), 277 (fouling water of public spring or reservoir), 278 (making atmosphere noxious to health), 290 (punishment for public nuisance), 426 (punishment for mischief), 430 (mischief by injury to works of irrigation) and 120B (whoever is party to a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence) of the Indian Penal Code.
In the complaint, the citizens’ watch committee of United Bengaluru — a collective of various Resident Welfare Associations and NGOs — asked the police to take criminal action to prosecute BWSSB officials for ‘negligence, collusion and connivance’, which had resulted in widespread danger to the said rajakaluve (stormwater drain) near Hosmat Hospital and the Bellandur lake, and to lives of people situated near the said waterbodies.
Suresh NR, convenor of United Bengaluru, said, “We will ensure that the case reaches its logical end. The muck that is dumped here will end up in Bellandur and this will bring international disrepute to the city.”
The issue came to light on September 20 when a video of the incident went viral on social media.
M Lakshmikantha, a research associate with the Namma Bengaluru Foundation (NBF), the NGO backed by BJP MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar, had posted the video, in which BWSSB workers can be seen releasing sewage from a tanker run by the Board into a stormwater drain.
Speaking to TNM, Lakshmikantha had said that the video was shot on the previous day and the sewage was being released into the primary stormwater drain behind the football stadium opposite Hosmat Hospital near Garuda Mall.
The complaint on Wednesday detailed that a BWSSB tanker (Jetting Machine) bearing the registration number KA 53 B - 3472 was seen dumping sewage into the stormwater drain abutting Hosmat Hospital. The complaint added that when questioned, the BWSSB staff said that they were working under instructions from Assistant Engineer Ramesh and Assistant Executive Engineer Dinakar.
The complaint said that BWSSB has acted in contravention of its statutory duties. Under section 74 of the Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board Act, 1964, the BWSSB is tasked with the responsibility of appointing places for disposal of sewage and is prohibited from disposing untreated sewage into any watercourse and Sections 120-B, 268, 269, 270, 277, 278, 290, 426, 430 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Sections 12 r/w 23 of the Karnataka Tank Conservation and Development Authority Act, 2014.
When TNM had enquired on September 20, BWSSB chief Kemperamiah and Executive Engineer Ramakanth denied knowledge of the incident but promised action.