Fresh smoke was noticed yet again inside the KCDC unit on Monday after one RDF mound apparently caught fire.

More woes for Bengalurus HSR Layout residents Fresh smoke from compost unit
news Civic Issues Monday, June 18, 2018 - 14:31

There is a new Bengaluru Development Minister, but for many residents of HSR Layout this has made no difference to their daily nightmare. Their ordeal is due to the Karnataka Compost Development Corporation (KCDC) plant that functions at the edge of Somasundarapalya Lake.

 In addition to the foul smell that the residents endure from the plant, fresh smoke was noticed yet again inside the KCDC unit on Monday, after one RDF mound apparently caught fire.

 Locals fear that the mounds of RDF are a tinderbox waiting to explode given the highly flammable and explosive nature of RDFs. In the last two years, there have been two major fires – in the incident that happened in February 2017, the fire raged on more than 10 hours.

Kamesh Rastogi, a member of KHHSP, said, “We have seen this kind of live fumes three times in two weeks now. There is highly flammable ammonia buried inside and it will take no time for the whole area to catch fire.” KHHSP is a resident welfare association for Kudlu, Hosapalya, HSR Layout, Somasundarapalya, Parangipalya and Garden Layout.

 Some of the residents who had met BBMP Commissioner Maheshwar Rao on the matter recently were told that all the Standard Operating Procedures were being followed. However, the situation on the ground was completely different.

 Krishna Kumar, a local resident, said, “The Commissioner was misinformed about all the RDF being removed. But we told him that and showed him photographs showing tons of RDF lying out in the open.”

 He also questioned the intent of the political class after multiple dialogues with the Solid Waste Management officials of the BBMP and with the KCDC management failed.

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 He added, “There is no sign of MLA and MP who promised action soon after elections. They won our vote and are now acting deaf. This is a clear case of sheer negligence laced with the arrogance of power. We took to the streets silently and within the ambit of the democratic framework. Yet there is no sense of empathy from the higher-ups.”

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 Dr Shanthi Chelam, whose house is at least a kilometre away from the plant, said, “With the monsoon, the smell has intensified. We have no option of opening our windows or door. I can only imagine how horrible it is for people living close by. There are so many schools in the vicinity, the children will suffer from pulmonary diseases. Earlier when I used to live in Mathikere, I did not have to use my inhaler on a daily basis like I do now.”

 “Before the elections, they had promised us action. Now, Sarfaraz Khan (JC Solid Waste Management) says there is no smell. It’s a very sad state of affairs. Khan should live close to the KCDC unit to feel our agony first-hand,” she added.

 The smell and fumes are not the only problems for the nearby residents. The KCDC unit is forced to take in more garbage than it can process at a time, leading to part of the unprocessed garbage to be dumped directly at the lake.

 The locality is yet to receive Cauvery water connection but the pollution of the lake has led to significant groundwater contamination of the area. This means many locals are forced to depend on private water suppliers for their daily water use.

 From the local corporator, the MLA, MP and even the Mayor— the residents have approached them all, who in turn have promised to solve the problem but nothing has changed on the ground.

 The plant has seen protests by locals since 2014, when it was asked by the Karnataka High Court to restart operations. However, the BBMP had given permission for many apartments and residential buildings to come up in the area in the early 2000s when the plant was defunct.

 TNM could not reach the Bengaluru Development Minister, BBMP Commissioner, Joint Commissioner (SWM), the Mayor or the KCDC MD for comment.

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