Price hike of PVC pipes affects scheme

The city Corporation's only back-up plan to the raging garbage crisis — installation of pipe composts in houses — has met with an unexpected hurdle. Price escalation of PVC pipes, the main component of the pipe composting unit, has affected the project which has just been gaining momentum in the past few weeks.

According to officials, the cost of a metre of PVC pipe, a petrochemical plastic, has gone up by around Rs.25 due to recent fluctuations in the prices of petroleum products. The increase in excise duty and VAT, announced in the Union and State budgets, and a sudden rise in the demand for these pipes in the city are also reasons for the price hike.

“Every household will be provided two units of pipe composts, each comprising one-metre PVC pipe. So, the cost goes up by Rs.50 for each house. If increase in transportation cost is factored in, a total price hike of around Rs.80 for every household results. This sudden increase in price has stalled the project just when it was getting into full swing,” said Corporation Health Officer D. Sreekumar.

Pipe composts will be installed in one lakh households in the city as part of promoting waste management at source and bringing down the quantity of waste transported to the Vilappilsala waste treatment plant, which has been closed down following a local agitation.

Two units of pipe composts, each with an ISI marked PVC pipe, a metre long, and with an 8-inch diameter, are to be installed in every household. The cost of one household-level unit (which includes two units) is Rs.813 of which the beneficiary's share is Rs.203. The rest of the amount will be provided as subsidy by the Corporation and State government.

The units will be installed by accredited service providers identified by Suchitwa Mission, which includes voluntary and non-governmental organisations. Kudumbasree Clean Well units have also been roped in to install pipe composts on a large scale in various wards.

“Already in many wards the project has been suffering because Clean Well unit members have taken up other works and are not available for installation. Now, cost escalation will cause more problems. The project for setting up biogas plants is also lagging as the accredited agencies are not willing to install them at the price quoted by the government,” said Palkulangara ward councillor P. Ashok Kumar.

Although 20,000 beneficiaries in the city have remitted their share of cost for installing pipe composts, only 3,500 households have been provided with the units. Mr. Sreekumar said that the Corporation had written to the State government seeking an enhancement in the subsidy.