Corporation fails to move an inch forward on Brahmapuram

Proposals for biomining of non-biodegradable waste, creation of easy access roads for fire personnel, leachate plant stalled

Despite a meeting that ran into hours on Tuesday to exclusively discuss proposals related to the Brahmapuram dumping yard, the Kochi Corporation council could not arrive at any concrete decisions to resolve pressing issues, including that of recurring fires, at the site.

Councillors have, however, ensured that proposals to manage the mounting piles of waste remain ensnared in procedural hurdles for months. Biomining of legacy waste, which could rid the site of all non-biodegradable waste that has been accumulating since the yard began to be used in 2008 and has been catching fire, is unlikely to come to fruition during the term of the current corporation council.

Councillors refused to approve the rate of ₹597 per metre cube of waste quoted by the contractor on the grounds that the liability would be too large for the local body to bear. “The Corporation would have to shell out ₹24 crore to biomine the nearly 1 lakh tonnes of legacy waste at the site,” said Benedict Fernandez, LDF councillor. The proposal would now be examined by the Health and Finance Standing Committees after Opposition councillors said that it had not been scrutinised by the committees before it was placed before the council as per the norm.

Suggestions made by the Fire and Rescue Services Department to construct roads through the yard and ensure easy availability of water to fire engines are also unlikely to be implemented soon. With councillors objecting to the costs, proposals for road work worth ₹4.5 crore and digging a pond, at a cost of ₹21 lakh, from which fire engines can draw water, will be studied by the standing committees and placed before the council again for its approval.

Argument over agency

The proposal for a leachate treatment plant at the site has also been stalled with councillors bickering over the involvement of German agency GIZ in preparing the detailed project report and suggesting methods of treatment. The proposal will now be reconsidered by the Health Standing Committee. The agency had offered its know-how free of cost, Mayor Soumini Jain said, pointing out that the absence of a treatment plant had invited the ire of the National Green Tribunal and led to the tribunal slapping a fine of ₹1 crore on the civic body.

The only action that will be taken at Brahmapuram soon is the installation of fire hydrants with councillors approving the proposal worth ₹19 lakh.

Speaking to media persons after the meeting, Ms. Jain said the recent resignation of some standing committee chairpersons which necessitated a rejig of the committees, might have meant that some proposals were not placed before these committees. “Councillors should have been able to stand together to take quick decisions and avoid procedural delays,” she said, pointing out that the Corporation Secretary was on Tuesday required to explain to the Chief Secretary the delay in biomining legacy waste.

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 4:11:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/corpn-fails-to-move-an-inch-forward-on-brahmapuram/article30976069.ece

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