THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: At a time when waste management remains a critical issue, the community biogas plant set up at Sreekaryam public market, under city corporation waste management units, is lying defunct due to official apathy.
The biogas plant, with a capacity to process 250 kg of waste per day, is non-functional due to delay in renewing the annual maintenance contract (AMC) with the company, Biotech Renewable Energy. The plant was installed in 2007 and its current contract expired on September 2017. From past one year, the company is trying to renew the contract but the corporation is delaying the matter.
“Though the Mayor has passed the file to renew the contract in a council meeting held in January, the file is pending due to the lack of interest of a few corporation officials. The corporation pays Rs 27,300 per month as the maintenance cost,” said Vallabhadas, Biotech Program Officer.
The waste-to-energy plant is also used to provide electricity to 13 LED bulbs that light up the city from Sreekaryam to Chavadimukku. With the shut down of the biogas plant, the street lights also got dysfunctional.
The company had assigned two staffers for daily processing and maintenance. Due to the lack of funds, the company is unable to pay them. “For the past one year, the company was maintaining the plant at its own expense but now they say further process will be initiated only after the renewal of the agreement.
The plant has to be maintained soon as the situation is getting worse due to heavy rain,” said Latha Kumar, Sreekaryam councillor.
With the plant stopping functioning, the area reeks and the councillor says she has taken up the matter with the corporation secretary but no action has been taken. “The biogas plant is a good solution implemented by the corporation to process market wastes. There are no other options,” she added.
Sources said Mayor V K Prasanth has asked the health supervisor to check the file and pass it soon.
“A condition included in the new contract was unacceptable by the corporation due to which the file is pending. The Corporation has asked the agency to remove an additional clause that says maintenance work above Rs 3,000 has to be handled by the corporation. As soon as the agency submit the new agreement, the file will be passed without waiting for the next council,” said T Alexander, corporation health supervisor.