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Shut it if you can’t maintain compost plant, say HSR residents

Bengaluru: Residents of five neighbourhoods near HSR Layout have intensified their campaign to shut down the Karnataka Compost Development Corporation plant, which they say is flouting safety norms.

“The plant is in the middle of a residential area and the foul odour is affecting the lives of people who live in the neighbourhood,” says Kavitha Reddy, a member of the Kudlu, Hosapalya, Harlur, Somasundarapalya and Parangipalya (KHHSP) Residents’                        Welfare Association.

Residents said that leachate from the plant is polluting the nearby lake. “If the KCDC cannot run the plant ensuring that safety norms are followed, they should shut down the plant,” Ms. Redddy added.

The RWA had recently sent a detailed report on problems caused by the plant to the Chief Minister’s office, the BBMP and the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB).

“We submitted a petition to the BBMP, KSPCB and other officials less than four weeks ago, and ran a postcard campaign to raise awareness. With no response, it is time to intensify our protests,” says Lalithamba B.V., a member of the RWA.

According to Ms. Reddy, residents had initially cooperated with the officials so that waste from other areas could be processed at the plant. “More than 250 tonnes of waste is being processed daily. If the plant cannot adhere to guidelines laid down by a court, it should be shut down,” she said.

This is not the first time residents of the five areas have raised their voice against the KCDC plant. Following protests in 2008, the plant remained shut till 2013 but was reopened after clearance from the Solid Waste Management Expert Committee.

But a year ago, residents had protested saying the plant is not being run as per regulations. In December 2016, around five thousand school students wrote to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on this issue. The RWA is holding a meeting on Saturday to push their agenda and is contemplating approaching the NGT.

Sarfaraz Khan, Joint Commissioner, Solid Waste Management (SWM), said that the BBMP is in the process of putting bio-filters at the KCDC site. Once they were operational, the smell would reduce. “It will be commissioned in 15 days,” he said.

He said that tenders had been called for setting up a leachate treatment plant, possibly in the Kammanahalli KCDC plant. “The plant at HSR Layout had been commissioned in the 60s when the site was on the outskirts of the city,” he added.

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