No new schemes in budget to tackle city's garbage problem

The city Corporation’s budget for 2013-14, presented by Deputy Mayor G. Happykumar on Thursday, says there should be increased focus on waste management.

Even so, no new schemes have been proposed. The proposals seek to continue with the initiatives mooted the previous year which highlights the need to set up decentralised units.

The one visible reform comes in the form of an additional Rs.3 crore being allocated for a project titled, ‘Mini-biogas plants,’ introduced last year with an outlay of Rs.1 crore.

At a press conference after the budget presentation, Mayor K. Chandrika said projects related to clearing of garbage proposed last year could not be deemed as complete, for it was a continuing process. She cited the ‘Suchitwa Nadinum Veedinum’ scheme which focussed on doing away with plastic carry bags. To supplement this, another project at an outlay of Rs.25 lakh aims at setting up Kudumbasree units to manufacture paper and cloth bags.

A package aimed at rehabilitating Cleanwell workers by employing them for the maintenance of pipe-composts or mini-biogas plants has been listed this year as well.

Much of the criticism directed against pipe-compost units stemmed from the fact that after they were put in place, there was no follow-up by Cleanwell workers, as intended. Also, bag-making training was conducted at only one tailoring unit, at Kannammoola.

Listing projects at three government schools and in the Sreekanteswaram ward, Ms. Chandrika said biogas plants would come up at Palayam, Kazhakuttam, Peroorkada, Sree Chitra Tirunal park, Poojappura, and Thycaud. Councillor S. Vijayakumar said the ward-level approach did not take into consideration the non-availability of land.

In response to a question on the commissioning of more plastic shredder machines, the Mayor said the government should bring in a rule whereby the Public Works Department would be mandated to use shredded plastic. The two machines at Palayam, she said, ceased to function, because there was no place to cart away the shredded plastic. As much as Rs.4 crore has been earmarked to set up a waste treatment plant at the Kunnukuzhy abattoir and to set up modern mini-abattoirs at Nemom, Kazhakuttam, and Kudappanakunnu.

A project called ‘Bye bye mosquito’ has also been proposed in the budget wherein five Kudumbasree workers will take up vector-control activities in each ward.