Solid waste management: BBMP budget prioritises the worst solution of them all, more landfills

Instead of investing and upgrading decentralised SWM facilities, Rs 100 crore has been allocated towards design and operations of scientific landfills.

Solid waste management remains the second highest priority for BBMP. Though allocation on this in the 2022-23 budget has dropped to Rs 1469 crore from last year’s allocation of Rs 1622 crore.

Changing Priorities – more landfills

Much of this money, however, is going towards managing landfills as shown in the chart below. Given the recent developments around the proposed changes to the collection and transportation system of one vehicle collecting all waste streams, the budget reflects the priorities and directions of BBMP moving towards more landfills and dumping by earmarking Rs 300+ crore for this.

BBMP SWM budget allocation for the financial year 2022 2023
BBMP SWM budget allocation for the FY 2022-23. Pic credit: Pinky Chandran

Instead of investing and upgrading decentralised SWM facilities, Rs 100 crore has been allocated for the design, establishment and operations of scientific landfills. This is justified by referring to recent NGT directions. Which is in stark contrast to the actual NGT and High Court directives to the state and BBMP of achieving 100% segregation by March 31, 2021 and to come out with a road map for disposing solid waste. .

The Environment Support Group (ESG), has in the past managed to stop two massive landfills in Mavallipura and Mandur. They have also documented the health impacts on the communities living around these areas. Yet, based on various media reports, BBMP, desite NGT directives, continues to prefer landfill management and has secured the state government’s approval to establish a ‘scientific landfill’ on two more sites, a 10-acre quarry in Hullahalli for South Bengaluru for about 250 tonnes of waste and reject materials and the second in Kannuru in Mahadevapura..

“While Bengaluru needs scientific landfill, we expect that the SWM Rules 2016 will be followed wherein no mixed waste will enter the landfill,” says Wilma Rodrigues, Founder and CEO, Saahas Zero Waste. “As citizens, our focus must be to ensure appropriate management of the landfill”.

“The continued high cost of maintaining landfills and the constant drain of appeasing surrounding villages and spending monies out of SWM for village development is a grave problem,” adds Sandya Narayanan, member SWMRT. “Had the same budgets been spent yearly on developing decentralised capacities, the city would by now have had increased processing capacity thereby reducing its dependence on landfills. The mistake of high dependence on landfills is self-perpetuating and one wonders how the BBMP is ever going to fix this very expensive man-made disaster”.

Read more : Mounting textile waste: Easy to buy, easy to trash, but not easy to recycle

Decentralised facilities ignored

The BBMP has set aside a mere Rs 35.50 lakhs towards decentralised composting facilities. “With an estimated 1500 tons of waste per day is being generated by bulk generators, one would have expected a budget allocation to incentivize bulk generators to do in-situ composting and work with empanelled service providers who have their own destinations,” says Shekar Prabhakar, Co-founder, Hasiru Dala Innovations. “This would have meant a substantial decrease in the amount of waste that the BBMP would have to manage and process, and better utilisation of the budget available. It would also have ensured that over 90% of the waste generated by them would be diverted away from landfills.”

There is no mention of Dry Waste Collection Centres (DWCCs) upgradation. Last year, a meagre Rs 5 crore was allotted for this. But no details of those upgrades were put up in the public domain. Various studies have shown that DWCCS are an effective destination at the ward level for recovery and diversion from landfill. Other cities and states have adopted DWCC as a viable solution. But the lack of adequate budget allocation by BBMP for DWCCs is alarming and indicates that everything is moving towards centralisation.

“It is a shame that Bengaluru city, with all its scientific and technological institutions, has failed to understand and promote the basic science of waste segregation and continues to allocate such huge sums of money for unscientific landfills in complete disregard to the court orders,” says Bhargavi Rao, Trustee, Environment Support Group (ESG).

Last year, BBMP had earmarked Rs 10 crore towards purchase of mechanical sweeping machines. But a Deccan Herald report in November 2021 said that BBMP had been passing the ownership and failed to make efficient use of its 26 mechanical sweepers. In 2020, the BBMP had floated a tender for procurement of 25 mechanical sweepers at a cost of Rs 230 crore. But with no GPS data available in the public domain, accountability is always in question.

The BBMP had also set aside Rs 10.3 lakh towards installation of CCTV cameras in large blackspots and SWM plants. As per a Logical Indian article in 2021, the BBMP was to install CCTV cameras in 2,415 ‘garbage vulnerable points’ across the city at an estimated cost of Rs 22.32 crore. However, there are no reports on the findings and action taken on people dumping/littering or the streamlining of waste collection in those areas.

Tokenistic approach towards welfare of Pourakarmikas

The budget allocations for salary of outsourced pourakarmikas is about Rs 300 crore, down Rs 85 crore from the last budget. But the allocation for purakarmina celebrations is up from Rs 20 lakh to Rs one crore.

BBMP SWM budget allocation for the financial year 2022 2023
BBMP SWM budget allocation for the FY 2022-23. Pic credit: Pinky Chandran

The BBMP website lists about 587 mustering stations and there has been a higher allocation towards maintenance of mustering centres at about Rs 1.75 crores. But it remains to be seen if these will include necessary facilities such as proper toilets, water, soaps, or sanitisers for the pourakarmikas, as the allocation for repairs and maintenance of public toilets (E-Toilets) has been reduced to a mere Rs 2.6 crores.

The only positive increase is in the allocation towards push carts and bins which is earmarked at Rs 4.15 crores up from the previous year’s figure of Rs 1 crore. “Lack of decentralised waste management facilities and improper work conditions of pourakarmikas is a major public health threat. And those in power are turning a blind eye to this problem while crores are being spent on making the city smart with facelift projects.” says Bhargavi Rao, Trustee, Environment Support Group ( ESG).

“It is sad to see that the budget has no vision for the future,” says Myriam Shankar, Founder, The Anonymous Indian Charitable Trust (TAICT). “While for the first time, the BBMP is talking about scientific landfills as opposed to the dump yards that have been created over the years in Mandur, Mavalipura, Bellahaali or Mittegenhalli, the landfill can only be a short-term, temporary solution, given the slow and indiscriminate segregation levels and BBMP’s constant disregard for prevailing laws and or any orders whether by High Court or the NGT. As per the SWM Rules, sanitary landfills were to have been implemented by April 8th, 2019, and dump sites should have been closed and capped by April 8th, 2021. We are now in April 2022”.

Bengaluru’s waste generation presently averages about 6500 TPD. As per their own statement, BBMP claims to process 1703.64 TPD of segregated waste, which is only 26% of the total waste generated. The remainder is being dumped. (Submission to the ongoing PIL Kavitha Shankar vs State of Karnataka WP 24739/2012).

Bengaluru’s waste generation presently averages about 6500 TPD. As per their own statement, BBMP claims to process 1703.64 TPD of segregated waste, which is only 26% of the total waste generated. The remainder is being dumped. (Submission to the ongoing PIL Kavitha Shankar vs State of Karnataka WP 24739/2012).

“Utilisation of budgets will be critical to bring results on the ground. We hope to see information around budget utilisation put out into the public domain along with independent audits. This will help build public confidence and better compliance from different stakeholders”, says Wilma in conclusion.

Read more: BBMP budget 2022-23: Midnight drama could see many city roads dug up all over again

Comparison Table of the Budget

The total solid waste management budget for 2021-22 was about 1622.234 crore and for 2022-23 is about 1469.4489 crore.

1. Establishment Expenses

Rs. 353.68 crores have been allotted towards establishment expenses for the period 2022-23. The salary of outsourced pourakarmikas has been reduced by Rs. 85 crores. The budget document showing actual used till December 2021 shows that only Rs. 200.37 crores was used towards pourakarmikas salary

Pay of Officers and Staff Solid Waste Management –28.75 crore30.00 crore
Allowances and Benefits to Officers and Staff Solid Waste Management19.36 crore21.35 crore
Pay and Allowance Equal Pay to Equal Work Staff1.5 crore2.33 crore
Salary of Outsourced PouraKarmikas DPS -P3585385 crore300 crore

2. Office Expenses

Printing, Stationery & Photocopying Charges20 lakhs60 lakhs
Telephone/Mobile Expenses8 lakhs11 lakhs
Revenue/Postal Stamp Expenses1 lakh4 lakhs
Electricity Charges – BBMP Offices70 lakhs40 lakhs
Medical Reimbursement BBMP Employees10 lakhs2 crore
Other General or Contingency Expenses 1 crore1 crore

3. Functions and Ceremonies

Pourakarmikas Day Celebration Expenses20 lakhs1 crore

4. Operation and Maintenance Expenses

Consultancy Charges Technical2.5 crore 1.3 crore
BBMP Vehicle Fuel Expenses1.03 crore3 crore
Vehicle Allowances to Officials25 lakhs10 lakhs
Honorarium Expense (Marshalls)18 crores 22 crore
Honorariums Expenses (Link Workers & JHI)11.5 crore12 crore
Security Service Expenses2 crore52 lakhs
Push Carts and Bins1 crore4.15 crore
Consumption SWM related Consumables10 crore12 crore
Repairs & Maintenance of SWM Vehicles11 crore3 crore
Repairs & Maintenance of SWM Plant & Machinery20 crore15 crore
Repairs & Maintenance of Cars & Other Office Vehicles1.25 crore2.55 crore
Repairs & Maintenance of Computers & Computer Peripherals2 lakhs22 lakhs
Maintenance of Landfills/Waste Dumping Yards/Quarries25 crore20 crore
Hire Charges of SWM Vehicles5 lakhs5 lakhs
O&M expenses of Biometric Attendance System50 lakhs1.06 crore
Operating Costs Outsourced SWM Expense including zonta, TPS, Dry waste550 crores600 crore
Tipping Charges4 crore12 crore
Decentralised Composting Expenses15 lakhs35.50 lakhs
Maintenance of Mustering Centres for Pourakarmikas 25 lakhs1.75 crore
Repairs & Maintenance – Buildings Public Toilets (E-Toilets)3.6 crore2.2 crore
Design, Establishment and operation
of Scientific Landfills as per NGT
0100 crore (New)
Scientific Landfill at balance pits of
Mittiganahalli and bunds development
075 crore (New)
Village improvement works for
villages surrounding BBMP scientific
0125 crore (New)
Campaigns, Rallies and IEC Programmes10 lakhs1 crore

5. Capital Expenses

Computers & Computer Peripherals10 lakhs50 lakhs
Office Furniture & Fitting, and Office Equipment 40 lakhs20 lakhs
SWM Equipment 1 crore2.5 crore

6. Capital Expenses (GOK Fund)

Special Infrastructure Project Grant (See Schedule No.E-06-01)521.634 crore93.1639 crore

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