CHENNAI: The Chennai Corporation is all set to float tenders to auction 65,000 tons of uprooted trees from Monday. But with no dedicated weighing bridges in place at dumping sites earmarked for garden garbage, how did the Corporation come up with these figures ? The civic body’s reply to this has not gone well with the activists here.
“We haven’t weighed the garden garbage now and estimates were prepared roughly based on the volume of the collection,” a senior Corporation official told Express on conditions of anonymity. Since the waste commands huge price in the market, it is a good source of revenue and absence of proper weighing machines could mean underselling it.
The Comptroller of Auditor General in one of its reports in 2011 stated that the Chennai Corporation incurred a revenue loss of `22.67 crore as the weighing bridges in Chennai’s two major dump yards (Kodungaiyur and Perungudi) remained defunct for months. The report also pointed out there was no transparency in the process as lorries carrying saleable waste were weighed at private facilities.
Even five years down the line, the civic body seems to have not learnt any lessons. While routine garbage was disposed of at Kodungaiur and Perungudi disposal sites, 78 points across the city were earmarked for the public to dump only tree debris.
Garden garbage from these points and roadsides were collected and stored at Velachery and Athipatu dumping yards. Nearly 700 tons of green waste were brought into these sites through 150 trips on a daily basis for the last 10 days.
When Express visited these sites, there was no electronic weigh bridges at these sites and workers entered values in their registers based on what they visually assessed. It was only based on these ambiguous figures that the Greater Chennai Corporation informed the press here on Thursday that they had collected 65,489 tons of tree debris across the city since cyclone Vardah made landfall.
Also, in both these sites, segregation was improper and routine garbage was mixed with green waste. Responding to this, the senior civic body official said, “Waste will be weighed at the nearest weigh bridges maintained by Corporation before being offered for sale at auctions.”
Usually on a weigh bridge, the gross weight of the loaded truck carrying the waste recorded from which the truck’s weight is subtracted, thus arriving at the weight of the load itself. But with both tree waste and regular garbage mixed up, how the Corporation arrived at the tonnage of wood alone remains unclear.
Above all, the Corporation has not completed the tree-cleaning process yet. “There are two big trees lying uncleared even in front of my house. When that is the case, how could the civic body already arrive at an estimate, let alone float tenders?” asked MS Chandramohan, general secretary of Arappor Iyakkam. The Corporation, on the other hand, assured to clear all piled up garbage along streets with 24 hours.