Heaps of garbage greet the visitors to Chamundi Hill right from the entrance at Thavarekatte at the foot of the hill. A few piles of garbage comprising empty liquor bottles, plastic water bottles, plastic cups, plates and sachets can be seen here, pointing fingers at the temple’s administration and Chamundi Hill Gram Panchayat that are supposed to maintain cleanliness and hygiene.

Though the hillock has been declared a plastic-free zone, plastic wastes can be found strewn around the Nandi statue, around Mahishasura and near Chamundeshwari temple too. Though Dasara is less than three weeks away, cleaning, painting, beautification and maintenance works are yet to begin.

It is not that the temple administration and the GP do not perform the cleaning work at the temple premises. The truth is that cleaning of the temple premises is done every day without fail, for which there are about 18 workers. However, the cleaning is done around 6 am and barely a few hours later, after visitors in thousands start pouring in, the wastes are back, strewn all around, to be cleaned only the next day.

The area around the Mahishasura statue is further encroached upon by push-cart vendors, thereby causing impediments for the movement of vehicles and devotees. The authorities have erected barricades without any aesthetic sense and haphazard parking arrangement.

The garbage, instead of being carted off to the Sewage Farm or to the dumping ground wherever it is, gets dumped into a small pond a little distance below the temple premises, chucked over the stone compound. Though the pond had been cleaned during Ashada festival, it has filled up with garbage once again.

Apart from the garbage discarded by tourists and devotees, other garbage producers are the shops and stalls selling eatables, tender coconuts and other knick-knacks.

Though officially there is supposed to be 100 stalls near the temple, the actual number of stalls are nearly 300, the illegal ones depriving the Temple Management Committee of the much-needed revenue.

Temple Committee Chief Executive Officer Upadhyaya, when asked about this, claimed that temple premises within and outside are cleaned regularly, for which Rs. 45,000 is spent every month.

Regarding the Dasara preparations, he said that it is handed over to the PWD who are expected to start the cleaning and painting work in two days and the works are expected to complete in a week after that.

Preparations for Rathotsava, Devikere and Theppotsava, the major events that are part of Dasara festivities, will be taken up in a couple of days, said Upadhyaya.

The Gram Panchayat’s Development Officer Basavaraju told SOM that the Panchayat had employed 18 workers for daily cleaning works and hired vehicles were used for transporting garbage. The Panchayat does not have sufficient funds to hire vehicles to carry garbage regularly to dump at the Sewage Farm, he said.

“As against the expected revenue of Rs. 9 lakh per annum, the Panchayat gets only about Rs. 6 lakh, most of which is spent on staff salaries,” he said.

However, the temple has over Rs. 4 crore fund which can be utilised for the upkeep of the temple and its premises, say the sources.

Courtesy : Star Of Mysore