Mechanisation of cleaning operations including sanitation works are going to be the focus point of civic administration in the coming days.
A Road-sweeping machine has been brought for demonstration purpose. The civic administrators have drawn up a plan for the introduction of mechanised devises for a slew of activities including road sweeping and loading and transporting of municipal waste from various points in the city, which are now carried out by its casual labourers.
A road-sweeping machine has been brought to the Kochi Corporation office on Sunday for demonstration purpose. The machine, developed by the Bharat Earth Movers Limited, a public sector company, would cost around Rs. One crore. If the machine is found to be useful and if budget permits, the Corporation would purchase the machines, said T.K. Ashraf, the chairman of the Health Standing Committee of the Kochi Corporation.
The Corporation is planning to carryout a demonstration of the sweeping machine before stakeholders in the city shortly and if proved successful, the machine would be first used for cleaning operations on Sahodaran Ayyappan Road, he said.
The authorities are also considering a proposal for the introduction of small vehicles with facilities for mechanical collection of waste. The proposal for the purchase of these vehicles and devices will be considered under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. If the project of the civic administration progresses as planned, the mechanisation will be completed in four months, he said.
Presently, the Corporation has 955 casual workers on its roll who are deployed mostly for cleaning operations including the sweeping of roads, de-clogging of drains and door-to-door segregated collection of refuses. On an average, six workers would be deployed in the Corporation a day for sweeping roads and by-lanes. Rain and inclement weather conditions would hamper cleaning works on these days resulting in the accumulation of waste, he said.
While members of the Kudumbasree units are largely involved in the collection of refuses from the eastern parts of the city, the job is mostly carried out by the Corporation workers in the West Kochi area. The mechanisation of garbage removal from roads would also help the workers stay from the unhygienic environs, he said.
T.B. Mini, a trade union leader of casual workers of the Kochi Corporation, said that the labourers were working in unhygienic conditions and without even the basic amenities.
The cleaning works of the Corporation have mostly become the job of the casual workers and members of the Kudumbasree units. The workers are not well-paid, she said. The civic administrators often fail to provide them raincoats, gloves and boots. During the rainy season, many workers are forced to work without rain coats, Ms. Mini said.