Systematic letting out of sewage into lakes and unbridled construction atop Chamundi Hill highlighted
Mysore/Mysuru: City’s worsening garbage and waste disposal mechanism, pollution of lakes, construction of structures inside public parks by the Mysuru City Corporation, dilapidated heritage structures that are further neglected by the State Government, garbage atop Chamundi Hill.
These were a few issues that dominated the interaction between various stakeholders and Chairperson of National Green Tribunal (NGT) State-Level Committee Justice Subhash B. Adi at Old Council Hall of the Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) yesterday. Throughout the interaction, the stakeholders listed out various problems faced by the city and the lack of concern displayed by officers and elected representatives.
At the outset, stakeholders said that many lakes that have sustained Mysuru for centuries were on the path of destruction as no conservation methods are being initiated. Taking the examples of Kukkarahalli Lake, Thippayyanakere and Lingambudhi Lake, stakeholders said that the Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) is letting sewage and wastewater inside the Lakes and no action has been taken so far, despite tall promises.
Taking the example of Kukkarahalli Lake, environment activist S. Shylajesha said that the University of Mysore was the custodian of the Lake but thousands of gallons of wastewater, sewage and soap-laden water from neighbouring layouts are being released on a daily basis to the water body.
Plastic menace, buildings inside parks
Working President of Mysuru Grahakara Parishat Sobhana told Justice Adi that they are being threatened by the single-use plastic bag manufacturing mafia if they report their activities to the authorities. Taking the issue seriously, Justice Adi asked the MCC and the Police to take immediate action against persons who intimidate and cancel the trade licence of manufacturers.
Kiran, a resident of Vijayanagar told the NGT Panel chief that the MCC is the biggest violator as it has gone ahead constricting permanent structures inside almost all the parks of Mysuru city. He said that the MCC and local elected representatives like the Corporators and the MLAs insist on constructing permanent structures inside the parks in complete violation of the Karnataka Parks, Play-Field and Open Spaces (Preservation and Regulation) Act, 1985.
Susthira Foundation President Ramesh Kikkeri said that they work closely with the MCC on many initiatives and the main problem of garbage is it stems out of houses without being segregating into wet and dry waste and also dumping of garbage by the side of the road clandestinely by hundreds of households.
Systematic destruction of Chamundi Hill
Leela Shivakumar told Justice Adi that she and many other volunteers were involved in a recent four-day cleaning campaign atop Chamundi Hill where tonnes of garbage dumped by tourists were cleaned and sent to waste management plants. She suggested he direct the authorities to devise a strategy to ban private vehicles atop the Hill and allow only KSRTC buses.
Seconding her was Leela Venkatesh who also highlighted how rampant construction in the name of development was threatening the very existence of Chamundi Hill. She said that unused and wet cement was also being dumped atop the Hill and this was causing ecological damage in the green and fragile space.
Reacting to the suggestions, Justice Adi asked the officers to make Chamundi Hill a strict plastic and litter-free zone on the lines of Tirupati Venkateshwara Swamy Temple. He said all the vehicles entering Chamundi Hill including buses must be checked for plastic, bottles and other waste. He also directed them to free the Hill of all illegal constructions.
Crumbling heritage structures
Retired Professor from the Department of Ancient History and Archaeology, University of Mysore, who is also a Member of the Heritage Conservation Committee, Government of Karnataka and Convener of INTACH, Mysuru Chapter, Prof. N.S. Rangaraju highlighted the apathy shown by the Government towards the crumbling heritage structures of Mysuru.
“The Government has not learnt its lessons despite the collapse of Devaraja Market, Lansdowne Building, Maharani’s College and many other structures that the Government has not even bothered to classify as heritage structures though they qualify and have all the merits of a heritage structure and deserves to be restored,” he pointed out.
MCC Commissioner G. Lakshmikantha Reddy, Health Officer Dr. D.G. Nagaraju, Zilla Panchayat CEO K.M. Gayathri and other officers were present.
A behavioural change needed to change Mysuru: Justice Adi
Responding to the suggestions and during the interaction, Justice Subhash Adi said that Mysuru’s cleanliness quotient is declining as it lacks an effective waste management system. “We must have an effective solid and other waste management so that the city that was twice declared as India’s Cleanest City will retain its heritage and historical character,” he said.
“Mysuru, known for its heritage, culture, and tourism, will lose all its distinctions if the city is not clean. And the onus of keeping the city clean is a collective responsibility of the MCC, Pourakarmikas and residents,” he noted.
Comparing Mysuru and Indore which has been ranked the Cleanest City in the country continuously for six years, Justice Adi said that in Indore, every citizen takes a special interest in the cleanliness initiatives and such a behavioural change is necessary for Mysuru as well.