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Privatisation of garbage disposal flayed

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Health hazard: Garbage lying uncleared near a lake at Nandivaram Guduvancherry.
Health hazard: Garbage lying uncleared near a lake at Nandivaram Guduvancherry.

V. Venkatasubramanian

KANCHEEPURAM: Partial privatisation of solid waste management and delay in making use of alternative site identified to dump non-biodegradable waste collected from Nandivaram-Guduvancheri area has come in for criticism from civic activists.

A few years ago, a non-governmental organisation was engaged by the Nandivaram-Guduvancheri Town Panchayat to collect degradable and non-biodegradable waste from households. It was allowed to collect Rs.20 per house for the service.

Enquiries reveal that the role of the NGO was restricted to collection of domestic waste from households and dump it in four transfer points, from where the garbage was cleared by the civic body.

The garbage transferred to bigger vehicles at the transfer points were supposed to be transported to an abandoned granite quarry site near Keerapakkam area, about 7 to 10 km from the town panchayat.

However, civic activists alleged that the local body staff used to dump garbage near waterbodies, particularly in Nandivaram area such as Nandheeswarar Temple tank, a small lake near the railway track, instead of dumping the garbage at craters at the quarry .

They alleged that the civic body had failed to fulfil its promise to clean the area around “Eesa Lake,” located near the burial ground.

The town panchayat gave this assurance to the State Human Rights Commission in 2008 after the Commission took suo motu cognizance of a news report in September 2007 that total area of the tank was expected to shrink owing to continuous dumping of garbage.

Responding to the Commission's query, the Directorate of Town Panchayat, in its reply, said that Nandivaram-Guduvancheri Town Panchayat had removed garbage dumped in the tank and nearby burial ground.

The area near the burial ground was levelled using gravel and bushes were removed to facilitate construction of compound wall.

The reply said that the civic body was planning to construct a cremation shed, a room for performing last rites and a cement approach road in the area levelled near burial ground. However, the activists said that no work, except for construction of cremation shed, had been taken up while large quantity of garbage dumped near the burial ground had got mixed with the lake water in the recent rain, making it unusable for irrigation.

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