The Brahmapuram solid waste treatment plant has been made partially operational after several months of inactivity.

The Brahmapuram solid waste treatment plant has been made partially operational after several months of inactivity.

The plant, which was commissioned nearly one year ago, had developed serious technical snags making the waste processing impossible there. Garbage had piled up at the yard and plant site as the plant stopped functioning nearly a month ago. The inaction on the part of the civic authorities in sorting out the issue had invited severe criticism inside the corporation council. The opposition had demanded a vigilance inquiry into the setting up of the plant.

The Corporation had spent around Rs. 12 crore for setting up the treatment plant. This was also the first project commissioned in Kerala using the financial support of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

The hitches have been partially rectified and the plant can be operated for around eight hours a day, said Babu Ambat, executive director of the Centre for Environment and Development (CED). The agency came into the picture a month ago following the request of the Kochi Corporation. It had been asked to rectify the defects of the plant and make it operational. The agency had been operating the plant of the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation for the last couple of years.

The primary task before the CED was to make the plant operational so that the garbage piled up at the plant site could be cleared. The agency hopes to clear a major portion of the waste before the onset of monsoon, Dr. Ambat said.

The complete rectification of the plant would be an expensive affair. Hence the agency has suggested partial rectification including the steps for stabilising the floor of the plant which had sunk. The agency had suggested that steel girders should be placed beneath the machinery to stabilise it. The girders would be supported by the pile that was installed there. This would ensure that the plant would be stable for at least three years, he said.

It is estimated that the partial rectification works alone would cost the civic body another Rs. 30 lakh. The rectification of the tipping floor may not be financially viable as an area of over one-lakh square feet has to be repaired. Setting up of another plant would be more financially feasible than repairing it, he suggested.

On inspection, it was found that the plant was installed at the site in violation of all the basic principles of engineering. The soil tests also revealed that there was not much soil left beneath the floor of the plant and the whole area was found to be water logged, officials said.

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