The annual Avarebele Mela, which draws crowds from across the country, could see a change in venue if residents in V.V. Puram have their way.
Sri Vasavi Condiments has been organising the mela on Food Street for nearly two decades.
Complaining of problems ranging from haphazard parking to littered streets, residents in and around Sajjan Rao Circle have petitioned the authorities concerned to shift the venue of the event, which will be inaugurated on Saturday and will end on January 8.
“We dread this time of the year. It is a nuisance, as we can’t even step out of our homes. With the increase in the of number of footfalls, the traffic in the area goes up and vehicles are parked everywhere,” said a resident.
For the past couple years, the Lalbagh West Volunteers’ Group, a residents’ group, has been knocking on the doors of the local MLA, zonal officials of the BBMP and even the traffic police with a litany of complaints. This year too, they have sent representations to Chikpete MLA Uday B Garudachar, BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad, Special Commissioner (Solid Waste Management) D. Randeep, Deputy Commissioner of Police (South – Traffic) Annamalai.
Smitha Srinath from the Lalbagh West Volunteers’ Group said the group has been following up with the authorities since August this year, with support from local councillor Vani V Rao. “During the mela, banned items such as plastic and styrofoam cutlery are used. Waste is not segregated. With garbage strewn all around, people face a health hazard,” she said.
The group, in its representation to authorities concerned, maintains that unlike the Kadalekayi Parishe and Belli Theru, where many small and marginal farmers and vendors participate, the Avarebele Mela is organised by one establishment. “We are not objecting to the mela, but to the venue… the event could be shifted to an open field and solid waste managed the right way,” reads their representation.
Geetha Shivakumar from Sri Vasavi Condiments conceded that the mela would cause some inconvenience to local residents. “The mela benefits hundreds of farmers from nearby Magadi, Kanakapura and Kolar. We have obtained the requisite permissions and have a proper waste management mechanism in place,” she maintained.
The BBMP will be deputing marshals to ensure proper waste management. Sarfaraz Khan, BBMP Joint Commissioner (SWM), said depending on the requirement, more marshals would be deployed. “We have to consider the sentiments of the residents. The mela has, over the years, come to be associated with the area,” he said and added that the civic body would explore the possibility of shifting the mela to an open ground next year.