Dealing with the waste generated by the huge influx of devotees in the city arriving to participate in the Attukal pongala festival will remain the biggest challenge for authorities this year in the background of the ongoing agitation against the Vilappilsala solid waste treatment plant.
However, the issue remained unaddressed at Wednesday’s review meeting held to discuss the arrangements made for the pongala festival.
When asked about the preparations made for the sanitation of temple premises and surrounding areas, Corporation health secretary D. Sreekumar said that all arrangements are in place to carry out the sanitation works.
He said that as in previous an additional 1800 sanitation workers will be deployed to clean up the festival area after the pongala. He also said that that the roads and public spaces in the city will be cleaned up within eight hours after the pongala festival.
But the Corporation officials did not make it clear where the waste collected from the road will be taken to. Urban Affiars Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty, who was present at the review meeting, said that a separate meeting will be held to discuss the waste management issue.
However, when contacted later city mayor K. Chandrika said that the Corporation was clueless about how to handle the waste generated as part of the festival. ``No meeting was held and we have not received any intimation for any such meeting so far. We don’t know what the government is planning to do about the waste issue,’’ she said.
Ms Chandrika added that around 80 loads of garbage is expected to be generated on the pongala day alone. Apart from bricks and leftover kindling a large amount of food waste and plastic waste will also be generated as a number of organisations will be offering free feast and drinks to devotees.
Mr Sreekumar told The Hindu that Corporation is planning to landfill the collected waste in vacant land. ``This is what we used to do in the previous years also. Very little waste used to be transported to Vilappilsala. This time we will have to identify land to landfill this waste also,’’ he said.
He added that Corporation officials are in the process of identifying vacant land for the purpose.