Sewage sludge and pig farming in the heart of Bhopal: A continuing disaster
Bhopal: There is nuisance as sewage is being allowed to flow freely in the heart of Char Imli, a residential area in Bhopal, the capital of the central Indian State of Madhya Pradesh, where many state ministers and senior bureaucrats live.
People all over the globe recognise that hog farming or sewage sludge, if it is allowed to flow, collect and evaporate in the open in the heart of residential areas, it is a public nuisance.
Sewage is intended to flow away from a community but here it is being left to evaporate right in front of a row of houses. The root cause of this menace is linked to another house that was earlier allotted to a chief engineer of the State Public Works Department (PWD). The problem arose when a new sewage pit (manhole) was constructed just behind this house and it was brought in use without making a proper outlet. when this matter was raised repeatedly with the concerned authorities, first there was no response but later a ramshackle sewage pipeline was laid without following the basic quality norms and engineering details. As a result the new sewage line, laid along a road passing through this area, has become an eye sore and serves no purpose. For more than a year, the sewage from the defective manhole has been seeping through the rocky neighbourhood landscape. A huge volume of sewage sludge has also got accumulated at one spot, which is diagonally across the entrance of another house. From here the sewege continues to flow with gravity till it joins a “Pucca Nullah” in Char Imli. It is a perennial nuisance and a breeding ground for mosquitoes and pigs that are barbarically hunted down by some people, who follow a typical pattern and come to Char Imli to kill them for meat and the racket continues without any obstruction.
Unfortunately a comprehensive legal framework to regulate wastewater disposal is absent in India. State Pollution Control Board is responsible for the implementation of Water Act, 1974 and the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 that have provisions for sewage disposal. Public nuisance is a criminal offence under IPC and CrPC and the Bhopal Municipal Corporation in fact is also responsible for abetting of nuisance in this case.
After complaints at different levels of the bureauctratic machinery failed to bring to an end this problem, a complaint was lodged on CM helpline (181) in the first fortnight of February this year. One month later when no action was taken by the concerned authorities, CM helpline was again contacted and the reply received from that end was enough to leave one rattled. The person attending the call said that the complaint has already been attended to and the problem has been solved–the ground reality is that the sewage from a row of houses occupied by bureaucrats is flowing in the open, pigs are roaming freely and there is no one to bother. The situation in this part of Char Imli could be described as worse than what residents might be encountering in the worst of ghettos anywhere in the world. All this in the midst of politicians and those in power shouting from rooftops about the much publicised “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan”.
The Char Imli scenario illustrates a grave problem. In many other parts of the city, the situation is even more grim.
The big question is where are the brooms and where the broom wielding politicians have gone?