The ‘Zero Waste Sabarimala’ project launched by Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy, at Sabarimala in November, 2011, still remains a non-starter allegedly owing to the indifferent attitude on the part of the authorities concerned at its implementation level.
Though the Finance Minister, K.M. Mani, has sanctioned Rs 5 crore five months ago for the implementation of the project aimed at making Sabarimala waste-free, no effective step has been taken to utilise the money.
The High Power Committee (HPC) for Implementation of Sabarimala Masterplan has been entrusted to execute the ‘Zero Waste Sabarimala’ project and the fund sanctioned by the Government for the same has already been transferred to Pathanamthitta District Collector a few months ago.
The Collector has convened two meetings of the grama panchayat authorities, Travancore Devaswom Board officials and various departmental heads to discuss the priorities to be made in utilising the funds transferred for implementing the Zero Waste Pathanamthitta project.
Apart from discussions and debates, no creative step has been taken by the HPC, TDB or the Government for implementing the project in a time-bound manner.
Rs 4.52 crore plan
Meanwhile, the HPC has reportedly chalked out a rough plan estimated at a total of Rs 4.52 crore for executing the project at Pampa and Sannidhanam a few months ago, sources said.
As per the HPC plan, Rs 2.61 crore would be spent on solid waste collection and disposal at Pampa and Rs 1.91 crore for the same at Sannidhanam.
The HPC plan also proposed purchase of plastic compactors and plastic shredders, besides waste bins and waste baskets, utilising the Government fund.
Different kinds of plastic waste and pet bottles littered in and around Sabarimala have been posing a major environmental problem at the pilgrim centre situated in the environmentally sensitive Periyar Tiger Reserve.
Collector moots biogas plants
The District Collector, P. Venugopal, said an official review meeting held at Pathanamthitta collectorate recently has decided to recommend the HPC for setting up two modern bio-gas plants at Pampa and Sannidhanam as part of the Zero Waste Sabarimala project. The proposed bio-gas plant would be of great help in the safe disposal of human waste collected in the large tanks at Pampa and Sannidhanam, he said.
The meeting has also directed the State Pollution Control Board to prepare a project report on the proposed bio-gas plants for submitting it before the HPC, Mr Venugopal said.
With hardly five months left for the beginning of the annual pilgrim season at Sabarimala, the authorities concerned have not even initiated steps to invite tenders for purchasing various costly equipments. Experts say that the authorities concerned should first prepare a well-chalked out action plan for the foolproof and effective implementation of the project in a time-bound fashion.