When the new Chief Minister, Kumaraswamy, assumed office in Karnataka, one of the first announcements he made was to provide one lakh houses for homeless poor in the state. What appeared to be one of the most ambitious pro-poor policies of the new government in Karnataka is now fast turning out to be nothing but a tongue sweetner.
Taking forward Chief Minister Kumaraswamy’s promise, the Rajiv Gandhi Rural Housing Corporation (RGRHC) has identified the landfill on survey no. 155 (Mandur landfill) for the construction of residential apartments for the homeless poor, as part of the state government’s scheme for providing one lakh houses. It may be recalled here that the Mandur landfill on the outskirts of Bengaluru was closed in 2014 after Mandur residents protested that it was affecting their health and the stench of putrefying garbage was making it difficult for them to breathe. And in 2016, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) had announced a proposal to develop a golf course.
The proposed location has around 135 acres of land out of which 35 acres are being used for landfill purposes. Since the remaining 100 acres are unused and going ‘waste’ the government is planning to use it to fulfill its one of the election promises. The government promises to clear the land of untreated waste before going ahead with the construction. On the other hand, residents of the locality feel it may take years to clear the untreated waste from the spot. Even bigger question is where the removed waste will be relocated?
According to environmentalists and solid waste experts it is unethical and inhuman to force the people to live in the midst of toxic gas. ‘It will be nothing but putting the life of the poor at risk,’ said a well-known Bengaluru based architect cum urban planner.
One thing is sure, the Chief Minister in his hurry to fulfill his election promises likely to create many more problems.