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Garbage issue generates heat at council meet

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TOUGH DEBATE: The Chennai Corporation Council discussed solutions for garbage clearance in three zones in the city on Friday.
TOUGH DEBATE: The Chennai Corporation Council discussed solutions for garbage clearance in three zones in the city on Friday.

Staff Reporter

Chief Minister expresses concern over accumulated waste on roads and directs Corporation to solve problem

Chennai: Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi has directed the Chennai Corporation to expedite the clearance of garbage that had accumulated in several parts of the city during the last few days.

An official release said he spoke to Mayor M. Subramanian and Corporation Commissioner Rajesh Lakhoni on the issue after his return from Cuddalore on Thursday. The Corporation was told to sort out the problem of garbage disposal soon.

At the Corporation Council meeting held at Ripon Building on Friday, the Mayor said the situation would be managed by drawing upon the services of Corporation employees and CES Onyx, the firm that previously handled waste in three zones, till Neel Metal Fanalca made adequate arrangements.

He said that the Corporation would give Neel Metal Fanalca two months’ time to fulfil the requirements of the contract. However, the agreement would be cancelled if the company failed to meet the target. The show-cause notices served on the firm would serve as records in the event of legal proceedings later.

Stormy session

The problem of rotting garbage piles on roads was the topic of heated discussion for well over an hour at the Council meeting.

Deviating from the usual routine of starting with the question hour, the meeting began with a request from Opposition floor leader Saidai P. Ravi to allow a discussion on the issues concerning garbage disposal. Several councillors raised the question why the Corporation had not foreseen the problem.

Mr. Ravi asked how the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation, the agency that floated the tenders, could have found Neel Metal Fanalca competent for the task when the firm had very limited experience in garbage clearance. He said the Corporation’s resources were being used for work entrusted to the company and, hence, the contract should be cancelled.

Pandemonium reigned for a few minutes when CPI (M) councillor Devi said Local Administration Minister M.K. Stalin and the Mayor were speaking on behalf of Neel Metal Fanalca when the firm’s officials had failed to come on record. Several councillors of the ruling party demanded that Ms. Devi take back her remarks. The Mayor said the Local Administration Minister had addressed the garbage disposal issue only because it was in his portfolio and not in defence of the new firm.

Temporary arrangements

PMK councillor N. Balakrishnan said the garbage clearance work was affected in other zones when the employees and trucks were allotted work in the Kodambakkam, Adyar and Ice House zones. The Mayor said the new firm had promised to keep bins and cleaning equipment ready by September 8.

For the present, Onyx’s bins would be placed in the Kodambakkam and Adyar zones and the Corporation has placed about 1,000 200-litre Sintex tubs in Ice House zone. The Pulianthope zone, which was to be transferred to the private firm for waste clearance, would continue to remain with the Corporation until requirements are fulfilled in the three zones.

Jayalalitha demands Stalin’s resignation

Alleging that the Corporation had caused untold hardships to the people of Chennai owing to the inefficient conservancy operations of Neel Metal Fanalca, AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa has demanded the resignation of Local Administration Minister M.K. Stalin and Mayor M. Subramanian.

The Government should have fully assessed the capacity of the firm to handle the conservancy operations before signing the contract, she said in a statement on Friday.

If the DMK Government was unable to satisfactorily handle conservancy operations, it should resign forthwith and AIADMK cadres will clear the garbage, she added.

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