To meet every two days and give advice to Corporation

The Urban Affairs Department has constituted a core committee, to be convened by Principal Secretary James Varghese, to monitor the garbage disposal crisis caused by the agitation against the Corporation's solid-waste treatment plant at Vilappilsala.

This was decided at a meeting convened by Urban Affairs Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty on Tuesday.

Corporation secretary, Urban Affairs Department director, Shuchitwa Mission executive director, and Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project (KSUDP) director are the members of the committee. It will meet every two days and make recommendations to the City Corporation on the urgent measures to be initiated regarding the waste disposal crisis, a statement issued here said.

The meeting on Tuesday discussed the possibilities of setting up sanitary landfills in abandoned quarries to address the worsening crisis in the capital city. The core committee has been assigned to identify such areas in and around the city.

The meeting directed the Corporation to immediately set up a plastic-shredding unit at the Pappanamcode industrial estate to recycle plastic waste. Directive had also been given to modernise the abattoirs in the city. Kerala Poultry Development Corporation (KEPCO) had been directed to devise projects to set up modern waste-treatment plants in abattoirs. The projects would be funded by the State government, the statement said.

The meeting also assessed the crisis situation in the city, especially the environmental issues related to landfills in open lands. In order to deal with the garbage crisis, the Corporation would be provided with additional engineering staff on contract basis, the statement said.

Mayor K. Chandrika, Local Self Government Department principal secretary James Varghese, secretary R.K. Singh, Urban Affairs director B. Ashok, State Performance Audit Officer Divakaran Pillai, and Suchitwa Mission executive director George Chackacherry participated in the meeting.

Meanwhile, the Vilapplisala solid-waste treatment plant witnessed slight tension on Tuesday morning.

According to Vilappil panchayat president Shobhana Kumari, she, along with some representatives of the panchayat, arrived at the plant after receiving information that Corporation workers were carrying out urgent sanitation work inside the plant ahead of the inspection of a commission appointed by the High Court.

“The Corporation is trying to do up the plant before the commission comes here for inspection on January 14. This cannot be allowed. The commission should be able to see the real situation at the plant and the misery faced by people because of this plant,” Ms. Shobhana Kumari said.

“We have filed a police complaint on this and have requested the police to ensure that the Corporation does not make any intervention at the plant until the commission's visit,” she said.

Mayor K. Chandrika refuted the allegation saying that it was impossible for the Corporation to do any major work overnight and impress the commission.

“Most of our workers and officials have vacated the plant. Only some unskilled labourers, who are living in quarters on the plant premises, are left. What work can they take up on their own without any technical assistance,” she said.

Ms. Chandrika said most of the major work inside the plant, including construction of leachate treatment plant and sanitary landfill, were nearing completion.