February 3rd, 2011

Now this is what I call citizen power? Can this system be replicated? Can we really get rid of our “corrupted to the core” BBMP?

Bangalore Mirror – Bangalore Mirror

Yelahanka aims to do away with BBMP

Residents take help from IISc experts to become self-reliant in segregation and disposal of solid waste; also sort out water, power supply issues

–Niranjan.Kaggere

Posted On Thursday, February 03, 2011 at 07:37:55 AM

The residents of Yelahanka New Town have a new resolution they want to do away with the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) by 2015.

Guided by scientists and experts from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), the residents are learning to be self-reliant in the segregation and disposal of solid waste. Children are touring the area with GPS instruments to map the area and mark the garbage dumping sites. This will put an end to the emergence of illegal dump yards. As of now, Yelahanka New Town has several vacant sites where unscrupulous people could dump garbage and turn them into breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Dr Sangunni, a professor at IISc, said, “When you go to the BBMP or BWSSB, the first thing they ask is statistics without which they will not act upon your grievance. Hence, we are mapping the area and marking places with garbage output potential, biodiversity, water supply details etc.”

K N Rajappan, general-secretary of Citizens Forum which is spearheading the movement, said, “Keeping our goal in mind, last year, we set a target of creating awareness about plastic disposal. This year, it is biodiversity. Through their school teachers, each student has been asked to weigh the garbage generated from his or her home and neighbouring houses and estimate the waste generation in the area. Based on the data gathered, a suitable strategy would be evolved in the coming days.”

Dr Sangunni said, “Two kinds of waste are generated on a daily basis plastic and kitchen waste. While kitchen waste can be converted into compost, plastic can be taken away by garbage collectors. But at present, we are throwing both in the garbage bin.”

Experts from IISc imparted training in using GPS equipment, waste segregation, mapping biodiversity etc to school teachers who shared the knowledge with their students. As many as 200 students from various schools in Yelahanka have joined the movement.

“Initially, working professionals were not responsive to these efforts. But over the last two years, we have been successful in persuading them to help us achieve our goal,” Dr Sangunni said.

Road captain monitors water supply

In the course of their work, the residents discovered that the water supply service was not up to the mark. The topography of Yelahanka reveals that despite the water tank being on an elevated area, residents were not getting proper supply. A detailed investigation revealed that commercial consumers were reaping the benefits at the cost of residents in collusion with civic workers who control the valves. “Last year, this unholy nexus had reduced water supply to once a week,” explained one resident.

Rajappan said, “To put an end to this problem, we appointed a volunteer, referred to as Road Captain or Mithra, from every street who would stand next to the valve during water supply hours. They made a note of the quantity of water supplied, timings etc daily for three months. Armed with this data, we approached the BWSSB chairman and Chief Engineer.”

Following their intervention, the water supply increased to once in three days. In addition to the water supply, the Mithras also keep tabs on power cuts, crime and interact with law enforcing agents.

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