With the State backing out, the Corporation faces the problem of dealing with the waste

As the capital city gears up to receive thousands of devotees for the Attukal Pongala on February 26, the city Corporation has announced its intention to bury, in pre-identified spots, the organic and plastic waste generated that day.

Mayor K. Chandrika told a press conference here on Friday that the State government had at the last moment backed out of a plan to entrust a private company to cart away the Pongala-related garbage to a quarry at Vizhinjam.

Consequently, the onus now was on the city Corporation to deal with the issue on its own.

“On February 1, a meeting was held where I was assured that temporary measures would be taken in the light of Attukal Pongala. They had requested us to provide Rs.50 lakh, from the profit of Rs.1.5 crore made from the pipe compost project, as a mobilisation advance. For this, I asked for a Government Order and they kept on delaying this. Even on February 20, they said they would issue the GO but it was only on Thursday night that a company representative informed me that the project had been called off,” she explained. The government cited ‘technical reasons’ as explanation for this, she added.

The current plan was to take away the waste generated in the 29 wards—designated as the festival zone—to four points for burial, and locations had already been identified, Works Standing Committee Chairperson V.S. Padmakumar told The Hindu.

He, however, refused to divulge where the garbage would be buried.

Last year, close to 10 tonnes of garbage — both organic and plastic — was carried away by trucks, and the figure is expected to be higher this year.

In the run-up to the festival, the Corporation had already begun cleaning activities by splitting wards into different zones, each under the supervision of a standing committee chairperson.

Cleaning up

Over 150 workers were expected to fan out on Saturday to gather all the waste and bury them.

Each day more workers would be part of this drive and 1,564 volunteers would work on February 26, Mr. Padmakumar said. He, however, acknowledged that segregating plastic and biodegradable waste was not feasible.

Ms. Chandrika blamed the State government for having double-standards while dealing with the Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram Corporations, with the former getting all the support it needed to manage any waste management crisis that emerged at the plant at Brahmapuram.

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