Says she is unable to take decision on waste-disposal crisis

The closure of the Vilappilsala solid-waste treatment plant is an act of ‘democratic violation' on the part of the Vilappil panchayat, Mayor K. Chandrika has said.

She was speaking after inaugurating a seminar on source-level waste management organised by the Suchitwa Mission here on Tuesday.

Ms. Chandrika said the panchayat president had no right to shut down a plant owned and operated by another local body. “The Vilappilsala plant has been constructed using the city taxpayers' money. The Corporation has spent around Rs.35 crore on the plant in the past 11 years. The plant was unilaterally shut down by the panchayat at a time when work on the leachate treatment plant and sanitary landfill inside the plant was progressing rapidly,” Ms. Chandrika said.

The State government should not have allowed the Vilappil panchayat to close the plant without making any alternative arrangement for waste disposal in the city, she said. “There are around 50 people working round the clock at the Vilappilsala solid-waste treatment plant, all of whom stay in quarters provided by the Corporation inside the plant. They do not have any health issues. I do not understand what health issues are faced by the people of Vilappil that our workers inside the plant do not have,” Ms. Chandrika said.

She said that as a Mayor, she was unable to take any concrete decision on dealing with the waste-disposal crisis as her hands were tied by the State government and the bureaucracy. “When I tried to rope in Costford, which is an accredited agency, to speed up the household-level ring compost project, it was objected to by the Suchitwa Mission, which maintained that the project implementing agency can be finalised only after following a tender procedure. We all know how much time it takes to complete these procedures,” Ms. Chandrika said.

Suchitwa Mission executive director George Chackacherry and director V.S. Santhosh Kumar were present. Suchitwa Mission solid waste management director Dileep Kumar made a presentation on source-level solid-waste management.