Two years after it first mooted the idea, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has once again proposed hiring retired army service personnel as ‘garbage marshals’ to keep a check on indiscriminate garbage dumping and burning in the city from January. The Palike’s top brass has sought the state government’s approval for the same. Presently, 15 such marshals are employed by the BBMP as part of a pilot project.
The decision comes after the Karnataka High Court recently took up a fresh case relating to the city’s infamous garbage problem. The first bench of the HC comprising Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice SG Pandit on Thursday asked the Palike to come up with a “concrete plan” to keep the city clean by October 31. The HC is hearing a batch of petitions regarding the garbage mess in the city.
BBMP Mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun confirmed the renewed push is in light of the HC directive. Gangambike said, “We have held a meeting once again. The state government has to give approval and as soon as we get the assent, we will hire them.”
The marshals will be deployed during the night hours and will fine individuals Rs 100 and Rs 200 for their first and second offence before filing criminal complaints against the offenders. Similarly, bulk garbage dumping will be penalised at Rs 50,000 for a truck of illegal garbage dumping, a tractor will be fined Rs 25,000 while an auto tipper will be charged Rs 10,000.
Incidentally, the BBMP on Wednesday was fined Rs 5 crore by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for not complying with its order on effective solid waste management (SWM) in northern part of Bengaluru even after a third warning.
Katyayani Chamraj, a former senior journalist and an activist, said, “The BBMP has been practicing contempt of court since 2012 in the matter. The HC had specifically ordered that garbage should be processed at a ward level. By now only four wards (out of 198) in the last hearing had submitted an action plan to do so. Even the vehicles used for waste collection are not compliant as per the court’s orders.”