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Jail threat over garbage

Bangalore, Nov. 20: Karnataka High Court today gave the government two days to come up with a plan to clear the Garden City of huge piles of rotting garbage, virtually warning that a few officials needed to be sent to jail.

“Once we put some top officials behind bars, will this issue be resolved?” Chief Justice Vikramjit Sen said, the veiled threat aimed at civic authorities who had failed to tackle the problem so far.

“You could not come out with a plan in two weeks to resolve the issue,” the judge added.

The court had on November 6 directed the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) to come up with a plan in two weeks after taking cognisance of a public interest petition filed by a lawyer, G.R. Mohan.

The judge said the bench would “issue contempt notices to both bodies (the) day after tomorrow” if they failed to come up with a solution.

The issue is scheduled to come up before the court on Thursday, some three months after the city began resembling dump yards with piles of putrefying refuse lying around.

The court had earlier warned that it could take steps to supersede the BBMP, the civic body for the city’s 8.5 million residents.

The civic body had first grappled with an agitation by nearly 18,000 sweepers in August. Just three days after the strike, it was garbage everywhere.

Once that issue was resolved, residents living around two of the major landfills began blocking garbage trucks, fed up with the stench from the piling refuse in their neighbourhood.

The IT capital’s garbage mess has even figured in The New York Times, which took the issue to a more global audience. This prompted the BJP-led state government to step in amid a rise in dengue cases.

Bangalore generates an estimated 4,500 tonnes of garbage every day. With a critical shortage in landfills, the city is now dotted with huge piles of garbage.

Although the government recently approved setting up 80 solid waste management units, it is expected to take months before the plants start operating.