Sobha Suburbia in Jakkur has reported 30 cases so far; residents say BBMP’s apathy and inertia are the main reasons because garbage isn’t being cleared regularly
The 250-odd home owners in Sobha Suburbia thought they had it made. The premium housing complex behind Jakkur Aerodrome was constructed in 2005 and had all the trappings of a peaceful life – row houses, greenery, apartments with modern specifications, a club house, and whatnot.
Residents like Satyan Chhabria, who moved in in 2014, thought they were living in paradise. And then the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) brought them down with a thud.
For the past 15 days or so, residents have been reporting to hospitals with symptoms of dengue – at least 30 have been diagnosed with the viral infection so far. But once they informed the BBMP, their world has been turned upside down. While residents say the mounds of garbage outside their boundary wall is to blame for the mosquito menace, Palike officials have been checking their homes to look for breeding spots.
“I was amazed when the BBMP officials moved our refrigerator to check for water leakage. I want them to ensure cleanliness on the adjoining road instead,” said Chhabria.
I was amazed to see that the BBMP officials wanted to move our refrigerator to check for water leakage. I want them to ensure cleanliness on the adjoining road instead
– Satyam Chhabria, Sobha Suburbia resident
“Five members of my family are down with dengue but the BBMP health department says that these cases cannot be considered an outbreak of dengue. We want the BBMP to remove garbage to prevent other residents from contracting the virus,” said Roch.
Residents said that garbage had not been removed for 15+ days and that was what was leading to the mosquito menace.
When a Bangalore Mirror team reached the spot while BBMP’s bulldozers were lifting the garbage after complaints, the stench was overpowering and the swarm of mosquitoes rising from the dump overwhelming.
It is alleged that residents of 4th Main (Masjid Road), Jakkur, are responsible for the heaps of garbage in the gutter abutting the compound wall of Sobha Suburbia. Locals allege that residents dump garbage at the spot in the morning and evening. On the other hand, residents of 4th Main complain that BBMP’s conservancy workers do not clear garbage on a daily basis.
“The conservancy workers visit our doorstep once a week to collect wet waste. How do they expect me to keep wet waste in my house for five to six days,” asked Muktarunnessa, a resident on 4th Main Road.
(As per BBMP’s rules, all Bengaluru residents must compulsorily segregate wet and dry waste; while Palike’s vehicles pick up dry waste twice a week, wet waste is supposed to be cleared every day).
What adds to the woes of Sobha Suburbia residents are the temporary sheds put up illegally right opposite across their boundary wall. The land that these shanties come up on was meant for a road; however, an enterprising local backed by muscle power has hosted construction workers from Kalaburagi and Raichur here, for a small convenience charge every month.
However, there are no conveniences and the shanty dwellers have to answer the call of nature either in the drain or around it.
Sobha Suburbia is just one example of how poor hygiene and Palike’s inertia are fuelling the rise of dengue in Bengaluru. On Saturday, Dr Sudarshan Ballal, chariman, Manipal Hospitals, urged the BBMP to take preventive steps. “The mosquito menace is back 2 haunt Blore with a vengeance We r seeing a huge surge in mosquito borne viral illnesses some of which r life threatening too. V need both d citizens & d authorities 2 take urgent measures 2 tackle this,” he tweeted.
Till date, 1,041 cases of dengue have been reported in Bengaluru, according to the BBMP chief medical officer, Dr Manoranjan Hegde.
Palike has been grappling with the garbage problem for many years now but in the past few weeks it has been exacerbated due to a standoff between the Mayor and the BBMP health department – while the former favours common tender for wet and dry waste, the latter are suggesting that the two tenders be awarded to different contractors. This has led to pourakarmikas not lifting garbage regularly in several areas in the city.
Byatarayanapura ward corporator PV Manjunath vowed to get the problem fixed when Bangalore Mirror called him for a reaction. “No one has complained to me about this issue. I will direct BBMP health staff to visit the spot and do the needful. I will visit the spot to redress the grievances of Sobha Suburbia residents,” he said