Residents challenge Minister to spend a day near the landfill
“Kill us at once instead of killing us bit by bit every day by sending garbage to our village,” cried a Mandur resident while participating in a protest to dumping of solid waste in two landfills there. Tension prevailed when Transport Minister and district in-charge R. Ramalinga Reddy, Mayor B.S. Sathyanarayana and Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner M. Lakshminarayana visited Mandur in a bid to convince the locals to allow dumping of waste for another six to eight months.
The residents began their protest early on Sunday morning by taking out a rally. The protesters raised slogans to the accompaniment of the beating of drums. After locking the gate of one of the landfills, the protesters staged a demonstration on Devanahalli Road opposite the Mandur Gram Panchayat office, blocking vehicular movement. When the police intervened, they shifted the protesters to Narayana Math Junction that leads to the landfill sites.
When local MLA Arvind Limbavali arrived, the protesters were split into two groups and they started arguing with one another. One protester said that the MLA had done nothing to prevent the BBMP from sending solid waste to Mandur. The situation threatened to spiral out of control when Ravikrishna Reddy from the Aam Admi Party egged the protesters to accompany the Minister and the Mayor to the landfill and demand that the garbage dumping be stopped immediately. The protesters started raising slogans against BBMP.
The agitated crowd accompanied the Minister, MLA and Mayor to the landfill. “See how we live. We can’t even have food in peace as the stench is unbearable. The officials have for the past three days been spraying some solution to prevent the stench from emanating form the waste as they knew you would visit this place on Sunday,” Murthy, a resident, told the Minister.
Challenging the Minister and others to spend 24 hours in the village, the Mandur residents pointed out to the leachate flowing into their fields. “We are being poisoned. Our water is not safe to drink. The young boys from our village are not getting brides and no one wants to send their daughters to our village. We are suffering every day,” cried Manjula, a resident.
The situation became tense when the Minister and others tried to leave the landfill.
The protesters gheraoed the police vehicle in which Mr. Ramalinga Reddy, Mr. Sathyanarayana, Mr. Limbavali and a few others were seated. A few protesters threatened to consume poison as well, while some tried to block the road. When the situation seemed to be going out of control, the Minister decided to hold a meeting in the BBMP office in Mahadevapura instead of holding it in Mandur.