"Why should there be an all-party meeting to declare that there are plans to set up three more treatment plants in addition to the proposed facility at Chala?" says Mayor K. Chandrika

The all-party meeting convened by the State government to discuss the problems of waste management in the capital city was ‘a sheer waste in itself,’ Mayor K. Chandrika said here on Monday.

While the talk of setting up solid waste treatment plants in various parts of the city was no doubt welcome, what the government should really have discussed at the meeting was how to deal with the hundreds of tonnes of waste already dumped here, Ms. Chandrika told The Hindu after the meeting.

“When I posed this question, ‘how to deal with the existing waste,’ nobody said anything. Why should there be an all-party meeting to declare that there are plans to set up three more treatment plants in addition to the proposed facility at Chala?” the Mayor said.

Ms. Chandrika said she was under the impression that the government wanted to discuss shifting the piled up garbage to some location. “We took more than a thousand tonnes to Kochu Veli, over 600 tonnes to Murukkumpuzha. I had to do some serious political negotiation to get Left councillors in these areas to agree to this movement of garbage. There are railway platforms in need of construction where there are sitting UDF councillors. But the government is not even considering taking garbage there. Am I not right in concluding that the government is playing the politics of waste,” she said. (Railways had constructed a platform on land filled using garbage at Murukkumpuzha).

The Corporation had, in the last few days, buried hundreds of tonnes of garbage at various points in the city. At one such location near the sewage farm at Muttathara when the corporation buried about 500 tonnes of waste, the Mayor reportedly got a phone call from a Superintending Engineer who wanted to know why the civic body was ‘illegally’ burying waste in that particular plot of land. “I asked him whether he had the ‘pattayam’ to that land. I also wanted to know from the official whether he was ranked above me in protocol. I have not heard from him since,” she said. The government had repeatedly stated that the treatment plant at Chala would be operational by the end of March this year. The government had done nothing to remove the hundreds of tonnes of garbage piled up at the site of the proposed plant, the Mayor said.

Urban Affairs Minister Manajalamkuzhy Ali had been quoted in the media as saying that the mobile incinerator would be taken to Chala to burn the waste there.