Kochi: The Corporation council meeting on Wednesday witnessed noisy scenes over the lapses in waste removal from city areas. The civic body incurred additional liability of Rs 1 crore when new norms were introduced for signing agreement with private contractor for transporting waste to Brahmapuram treatment plant. Earlier, the rate was per truck load of garbage while the current rate is per tonnage.
The Opposition councillors demanded probe by Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau into the financial loss suffered by the local body. “The new agreement for waste removal proved to be a total failure which caused financial loss to the civic body. Even after spending additional amount, garbage from the city, especially from west Kochi areas is not being removed properly,” alleged the CPM members.
Meanwhile, replying to the debate Mayor Soumini Jain denied the demand for Vigilance probe and ordered an inquiry by Corporation secretary. Based on the probe report, final decision will be taken on cancellation of agreement with the contractor. The Corporation will also take immediate measures to repair its own vehicles to minimise dependence on private trucks.
During the council meeting, members from both Ruling Bench and Opposition complained against lapses in waste removal. “Trees or branches of big trees which came down during the heavy winds and rains last week have not been removed from roadside. Several trees were uprooted in Mattancherry and branches are still lying along the roads, alleged councillors from west Kochi areas alleged.
Meanwhile, Health Committee chairperson V.K. Minimol admitted that frequent hartals, workers’ strike and holidays have adversely impacted the waste transportation. “Though the contractor was asked to give more vehicles to remove remains of trees fell during heavy winds, he didn’t provide. The Corporation is handling 245 tonnes of waste everyday and the additional garbage including huge branches of trees could not be removed due to shortage of vehicles and workers,” she said.
Councillors also raised apprehensions over the delay in beginning pre-monsoon cleaning drive in full swing. Education Standing Committee chairperson and CPM member Poornima Narayan raised the issue of water logging in colonies in her division and remarked that de-silting and weeds removal from TP Canal alone can’t resolve the issue.