Villagers refuse to cremate young victim’s body
23 July 2010
Press Release Mavallipura 23 July 2010
Akshay Kumar, a 15 year old boy, died of dengue this morning at Mavallipura, Yelahanka Hobli, 20 kms north of Bangalore. Akshay’s untimely death is the tragic outcome of reckless dumping of hundreds of tonnes of garbage daily by Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and M/s Ramky Infrastructure Ltd. at Mavallipura, making it a fertile habitat for mosquitoes and resulting in widespread affliction of local communities with deadly dengue and chikungunya.
This is the second death in a week in this village. Rajanna (about 60y) passed away due to cancer only 5 days ago. Rajanna’s death is highly indicative of the widespread adverse impact of toxic discharge from illegal landfills in the village. Many more are suffering from cancer, kidney failure, low immunity levels in surrounding villages, and the rates of such diseases are way over the national average.
The misery of the villagers is unspeakable. People have to eat inside mosquito nets during the day and night, to ensure flies don’t get to their food. Dogs and scavenging birds are everywhere. Couple of days ago, 7 year old Chaitra was bitten by a rabid dog and has been hospitalised.
The landfills are also only 5 kms. from Yelahanka Air Force Base and attract a very high population of kites and crows, and vultures too – considered serious threat to flight safety of defense aircraft. This landfill is proving to be a major handicap to free movement of Indian Air Force planes and consquently compromising our air borne security systems.
This terribly mis-managed and illegal landfill has been a major source of worry, consternation and protest amongst local communities for some years now. Regulatory agencies, like Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, have done little or nothing to contain the damage to human health and environment, despite many petitions, protests, complaints, etc.
Livid villagers of Mavallipura are now carrying the body of Akshay to the Ramky facility in protest. The tragedy struck family has refused to cremate the remains of this unfortunate young victim of criminal negligence by BBMP and regulatory authorities. In their worst times they have taken to protest until their long standing demands are met with: the illegal landfill facility must be shut down, the area must be fully decontaminated and all affected families comprehensively compensated.
Environment Support Group has extensively surveyed the damage to the local environment and human health due to the illegal landfills and a comprehensive report of the adverse impacts will soon be released.
Call for support:
If you wish to support the affected communities in their tragic times, please join the villagers protest right away, at Mavallipura. To reach the village travel on Bangalore – new Airport road (Bellary Road), take a left after the GKVK Campus at Yelahanka junction onto the Doddaballapura Road, proceed for a few kms. to the CRPF campus (on the left) and immediately after this police campus take the left turn that will take you straight to the illegal landfills and the site of protest.
Solidarity messages and media enquiries may be directed to Dalit Sangarsh Samithi leaders Srinivas (Cell: 9448174834) and Dhanraj (9448391749).
In solidarity with the unfortunate victims of our collective neglect,
Leo F. Saldanha
Environment Support Group