The silt and garbage have become a major impediment for fishing out Shantakumar's body, the Mayor said.

Theres so much garbage in Bengalurus drains we cant even find a mans body in it
news Garbage Tuesday, May 23, 2017 - 17:32

There is so much garbage in Bengaluru’s storm water drains, that three days after a worker was washed away into one due to a thunderstorm, his body has not been found yet.

When a thunderstorm brought Bengaluru to a standstill on Saturday, a Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) JCB contractor was washed away in a storm water drain in Kundanahalli. Three days on, over 300 BBMP workers, NDRF, SDRF and the fire force together, have not been able to locate Shantakumar’s body.

According to the Bengaluru Mayor, G Padmavati, the silt and garbage dumped in the storm water drains have become a major impediment for the search operation.

“Over 300 people are working to find Shantakumar’s body. Four boats have also been deployed to look for him. The NDRF personnel are facing a lot of difficulty in finding the body because of the silt and garbage accumulated in the storm water drains. The search operation is currently on at Kumbagodu and a large number of thermocol boards have been floating at the end of the rajakaluve, where we are hoping to find his body,” Mayor Padmavati said.

The storm water drains have increasingly become garbage dumping sites and channels for the city’s sewage to flow. This despite the fact that in 2013, the Karnataka High Court had passed an order which criminalised the dumping of garbage and flow of sewage into storm water drains. The court also held both the bureaucrats and private contractors responsible for it.

In an order passed in April 2013, in the garbage dumping and encroachment in Sarakki Lake in Bengaluru, the court had observed that the “unholy nexus among the contractors, councilors, elected representatives and officials” had turned Bengaluru “from a garden city to a garbage city.”

The court had also issued a series of guidelines to the BBMP for awarding contracts for garbage clearance in the future.

It had ordered the Palike to consult with the resident welfare associations in the said areas while evaluating the details regarding the contractors before awarding them with the contracts.

The HC had ordered the Palike to put out the names of the contractors along with their phone numbers and the work they are undertaking on its website.

“All these guidelines have been repeatedly flouted time and again, which is why the storm water drains have been converted into garbage and sewage dumps,” said a senior BBMP official.

The official also said that just a few months after the court had passed the order, the Palike was again pulled up by the High Court for not even reading the order copy.

“The court had said that when the BBMP Commissioner himself has not read the court’s judgment, then what is happening in the BBMP? The bench had issued guidelines for garbage contract tenders but the BBMP was allowing the same contractors to work and it is happening even now,” he added.

“We don’t go by the word of these officials. Garbage in the BBMP has to be removed first. Segregate them [officials] and if necessary, throw them out,” the High Court had observed.

Kshitij Urs, a member of People’s Campaign For Right To Water, said that the storm water drains in the city became sites for garbage disposal when private contractors were tasked with the waste collection and disposal.

“The Bangalore Mahanagara Palike became a more centralised organisation, which is now the BBMP. During the intervening years of 2006 to 2008, the garbage collection and disposal was privatised. For these private contractors, lakes, storm water drains and open sites became prime locations to dump the garbage, which has now destroyed the city,” Urs added.

Urs said that most of the tributaries of rivers in Bengaluru have been converted to rajakaluves, where rampant garbage dumping and sewage disposal is being carried out.

“The rajakaluve near Mysuru Road is actually where the Arkavathy, Vrishabhavati and Panini tributaries meet. The BBMP must start cleaning up the rajakaluves and also the rivers. They must be differentiated,” he added.

Urs said that although there have been many deaths of people who have fallen into storm water drains, the BBMP has still not managed to protect its own workers.

“There was a forecast for a thunderstorm and yet the BBMP had sent its workers into a storm water drain in an earth mover nonetheless. The BBMP has to be more mindful and should refrain from putting its workers at risk,” he added.


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