Jun 1, 2014

Our waste, their lives - residents have threatened to commit mass suicide if BBMP dumps even one truckload of garbage from June 1

"We have no alternative," said Manjunath, a resident of Mandur village and a social worker. "We cannot stand the stench and the pollution anymore. We either have to end this dumping or die."

Pushed to a corner after residents of Mandur refused to allow waste from the city to be dumped in their village — an issue that resulted in massive heaps of garbage lining roadsides — early last year, local politicians and civic agency officials brokered a peace deal. Residents of Mandur relented only after the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) promised not to dump any more waste from June 1, 2014. It set the clock ticking.

Officials had more than a year to find a permanent solution to the issue, but the BBMP, typically, is no closer to a solution now than it was when the deal was struck last year. Worse, the civic agency and the government has an even bigger problem on its hands — the lives of Mandur villagers.

Earlier this week, residents of Mandur had prevented hundreds of garbage-laden trucks from entering the dump yard. Now, they have threatened to commit mass suicide if the BBMP dumps "even a single truck-load" of garbage from June 1.

Chandrashekhar Gowda, a resident of Mandur, said, "The dump yard falls within the limits of two village panchayats —Mandur and Bidarahalli. The two villages have a total population of about 20,000 to 25,000. At least 10,000 to 15,000 villagers have expressed solidarity with us (with the plan of committing suicide). We have lost our livelihood ever since the civic agency began dumping waste here. The garbage has begun to take a toll on our health. Even if the government sets up a hospital, our suffering will not end until the garbage is cleared. We have to start somewhere and it will start from today."

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