‘KSPCB clueless on STP figures’
Despite claims by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board that the city has 597 privately functioning Sewage Treatment Plants, the agency is clueless about the exact figures.
“The board official told me that there are 896 STPs and 2,413 apartments in the city,” said K B Obalesh, state convener for the monitoring committee for the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act.
In an RTI application, Obalesh had sought information on the number of apartments, and the STPs when three labourers were asphyxiated to death in at the ND Sepal Apartment in HSR Layout on January 7.
The apartment was issued consent for establishment (CFE) during its planning stage. But it failed to take Consent For Operation, a requirement to manage private STPs.
Obalesh also said 90% of the private STPs function in the basement, against the National Green Tribunal rules. “Going by the number of apartments furnished by the board, and considering that each of them have two STPs, the numbers should be not less than 4,000,” he said.
At a recent meeting convened by the Karnataka State Commission for Safai Karmachari with stakeholders like the BBMP, BWSSB, KSPCB and the police, the board could not provide the precise numbers in terms of the existing STPs. The commission gave time till the next meeting on Saturday to come up with the right numbers.
KSCSK chairman M R Venkatesh said the commission has directed the pollution board to conduct zone-wise awareness programmes for apartment dwellers on maintaining STPs.
“We’ve lost six labourers to manual scavenging this year, thanks to the negligence of the building owners,” he said.
The pollution board said it issued CFE to 2,944 apartments until 2017, of which only 597 have received CFO till 2016. It issued 3,820 CFEs throughout the state, of which 1,142 apartments were given CFOs.