BBMP cannot fine apartments for lack of in-situ composting: Bangalore Apartments’ Federation

Recently BBMP levied huge fines on apartments that did not compost their waste in situ. Bangalore Apartments' Federation (BAF) has condemned the move, saying SWM Rules don't mandate in situ composting at all

Bangalore Apartments’ Federation (BAF) has strongly condemned Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) for its unilateral, unreasonable and illegal penalisation of apartments which have not been able to do in situ composting. BAF is a not-for-profit organisation with a membership base of over 500 apartment complexes across Bengaluru, representing almost one lakh households and three lakh people.

Elaborating on Solid Waste Management (SWM) Rules, Vikram Rai, Treasurer and SWM Lead of BAF, said, “The SWM Rules of 2016 – notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on 8th April 2016 – mandates only waste segregation. It neither mandates apartments to do in situ composting nor gives authority to the municipality to levy a fine. Section 4(7) of the SWM Rules merely recommend that in situ composting can be done by gated communities as far as possible, and if not possible, to be disposed properly with waste collectors.

He added, “Where possible, quite a few apartments have been doing in situ composting, and where not possible due to constraints of space and feasibility, they are disposing the segregated waste responsibly with empaneled vendors. Apartments are fully compliant with all the prevailing rules on SWM. This is a highhanded and illegal action on the part of BBMP with a view to harassing innocent apartment citizens for nefarious gains by errant officials.”

Talking about how apartments have been socially responsible, Sandhya Bhat, Joint Secretary of BAF, said, “Apartments have been among the most socially responsible communities in Bengaluru, segregating waste 100 percent for many years now, even before the SWM Rules came into force. In addition, apartments have been incurring almost 10 times the cost that individual households incur, to dispose waste responsibly. Individual households pay only Rs 30 per month as SWM Cess. Whereas apartment households not only pay the SWM Cess, but also incur an additional Rs 300 per month to dispose waste responsibly either through in-situ composting or through empaneled vendors.”

Talking about the responsibility of BBMP, H A Nagaraja Rao, President of BAF, added, “Section 15(b) of SWM Rules mandates that BBMP should pick up segregated waste from every household, including from apartments and multi-storeyed buildings at their gates. It is BBMP which should be penalised for dereliction of duty, as they have miserably failed this city and its citizens continuously over a long period of time.”

Condemning the action of BBMP strongly, Srikanth Narasimhan, General Secretary of BAF, said, “BAF strongly condemns this high-handed and illegal action of BBMP of imposing fines on apartments for not doing in situ composting, without any understanding of either practicality or of the Rules that are in force. This is a clear case of harassment of innocent citizens, and of levying illegal penalties on people who are already doing more than what they can or are needed to do as per the SWM Rules. BAF will fully fight this injustice and harassment by BBMP, both through legal means and through protests, if BBMP continues to be unreasonable.”

[This article is based on a press release from BAF (Bangalore Apartments’ Federation), and has been published with minimal edits]

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