Putting their lives on the line, workers at the solid waste treatment plant at Brahmapuram are working day and night to keep the city clean.
The workers fear that the structure may collapse any moment as its beams and columns have developed cracks and its floor sinking. Unscientific construction and the apathy of Kochi Corporation in maintaining the building led to the situation, according to those manning the plant.
Any disruption in the functioning of the plant could stall the collection and removal of waste from the city and it would be exposed to the risk of outbreak of contagious diseases, it was pointed out.
On a given day, there would be at least 30 workers at the plant site. The structure might come down any moment, leading to loss of life, said A.A. Baiju, the contractor who is running the plant for the local body.
A risky situation is prevailing at the plant site. There is the possibility of workers getting trapped in case of an accident. The pathetic condition of the plant was repeatedly brought to the notice of the local body through letters several times. Kochi Mayor Tony Chammany and others had visited the plant site following the alerts. However, nothing had been done to salvage the plant, he said.
Though the contract between Mr. Baiju and the local body for the maintenance of the plant and production of manure from waste had ended a few months ago, the local body had asked him to continue till it finds a new agency for running it.
Even after a few attempts, the civic body has not succeeded in identifying and roping in any one to run the plant.
Incidentally, the local body had recently reallocated around Rs. 45 lakh earmarked for the maintenance of the plant to other works as it could not utilise it on time.
As an estimate for repairing the plant could not be done on time, the funds could not be utilised, according to a recent statement made by the civic administrators at the council.
With hardly two months left in the current fiscal, it would be an uphill task for the Kochi Corporation to complete the paper works and get the maintenance work done, it was pointed out.