The Karnataka government has approved a plan to take Bengaluru’s garbage in a goods train to Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) and dump it on mining sites.
Predictably, the people of KGF are angry with this decision. Citizen groups have called for a voluntary bandh, and organised protests against the decision. Agitators held 'Save KGF' placards and shouted 'We don't want Bengaluru's garbage'.
G Jaykumar, CEO of Bharat Gold Mines Ltd said, "Residents of KGF do not want Bengaluru's garbage. The plan states that the 1,000-acre plot will be turned into an ‘eco zone’ but we cannot trust the BBMP. Look at what has happened to Bengaluru's landfills!”
The BBMP plans to dump the garbage in KGF, and has a proposal for a 1,000-acre eco zone, where ‘garbage management plants’ will be set up. The plan includes setting up a green perimeter around the plants, where biogas and electricity will be produced.
But how long such a project will take is anyone’s guess.
“The land (identified for dumping garbage) has been declared as a mining zone after the SC verdict in 2013, where it granted permission for floating global tenders to conduct mining operations. Now they want to dump garbage in that area. Mining is a revenue generating operation and the BBMP is out to sabotage it. We will not allow that to happen," said Jaykumar.
It’s not just citizen groups, political parties have also jumped into the fray. BJP has been organising protests against the project at KGF, asking why the government can’t find a plot close to Bengaluru for dumping garbage.
Y Sampangi, a local BJP leader who headed the citizens' protest said, "Let the government acquire a 1,000-acre plot close to Bengaluru and dump the city's garbage there. Just because people from Bengaluru do not want their own garbage dumped in landfills near their homes, they want to transport it to KGF and inconvenience us.”
He added: “This is grossly unfair. If the plan is carried out, it will put KGF residents in danger of being affected by diseases. We fought for the reopening of the mines for 13 years, and now it’s going to be destroyed if the plan is carried out."
It’s not just the opposition, even Congress leaders and party workers in KGF are up in arms against the project. They went on a protest march stating that they were against the garbage dumping plan too, and that BJP was trying to spread wrong information about the Congress and blamed the party for unnecessarily trying to politicise the issue.