Even as Thrikkakara attracts more people on account of its rising profile as the Information Technology hub, the municipal authorities are grappling with rising solid waste generation it entails.
However, the municipal authorities are talking in different voices when it comes to waste management, which was visible during the recent Budget.
In the introductory remarks to the Budget, municipal chairman P.I. Mohammadali expressed hope of getting a solid waste treatment plant off the block during the 2013-14 fiscal itself. However, the budget presented by vice-chairperson Shereena Shukkoor does not figure allotment against specific proposal for a waste treatment plant.
Under the head of solid waste treatment, the budget allocated only Rs. 5 lakh towards transportation cost and remuneration of employees engaged in the movement of solid waste to the treatment plant of Kochi Corporation at Brahmapuram and another Rs. 10 lakh for erecting surveillance cameras to check littering on roadsides.
Though not apparent, Ms. Shukkoor claimed that there was a budgetary provision to the tune of almost Rs. 1.50 crore collectively for public health and solid waste treatment. “This fund can be used among other things for purchase of land for the proposed plant. Besides, another Rs. 10 lakh has been provided, which was later increased to Rs. 30 lakh following the debate on the Budget, for buying compact vehicles to collect waste in localities with narrow roads,” she said.
However, it is clear that the proposed plant, if any, is some distance away. Ms. Shukkoor said a project for treatment plant needs to be worked out after visiting similar facilities elsewhere.
But municipal health standing committee chairman V.D. Suresh said a waste treatment plant was unlikely considering the difficulty in finding land and opposition from the local public. “We will have to continue disposing waste at Brahmapuram for the foreseeable future. Instead, we are now focusing on treatment of waste at the point of generation through the distribution of biogas plants and pipe compost units,” he said.
Thrikkakara Residents' Association Apex Council (TRAAC) president M. Anilkumar said the municipality was unimaginative when it comes to tackling solid waste. “They are talking of 1,000 biogas plants when there are about 20,000 households and an equal number of industrial units in the municipal limits. The budget allocates Rs. 25 lakh for roads in each ward while there are no concrete proposals towards waste management,” he said.
T.K. Asharaf, Corporation’s health standing committee chairman, said disposal of the municipal waste at Brahmapuram plant was not an issue considering that it has a capacity to handle 250 tonnes of biodegradable waste a day. Rema Saju, president, Vadavucode-Puthencruz panchayat where the plant is located, said the panchayat was not in favour of dumping waste from other municipalities apart from the Corporation. “But our opposition doesn’t count. We are helpless,” she said.
“The municipality is talking of 1,000 biogas plants when there are about 20,000 households and an equal number of industrial units in the municipal limits. There is no concrete proposals towards waste management."