KOCHI: As Kochi Corporation’s mission for a cleaner and brighter city draws to a close, a retrospection as to whether it was able to achieve what it aimed for generated mixed opinions.
‘City Express’ spoke to resident’s associations, councillors, civic administrators and various other stake holders in the city about ‘Mission Clean Kochi’. The general opinion was that the drive has served its purpose and has been successful spreading the message of cleanliness.
The cleaning mission was taken up in complete seriousness by the members of Kudumbashree, who were supported in the endeavour by the various educational institutions, in important public spots including markets and beaches. Mayor Tony Chammany had kick-started the project on November 1 by cleaning the garbage that had piled up in the dumping ground in Ernakulam market.
Later on, the students of Ayyapankavu came forward to clean boat jetty premises, the students of Government Girl’s School took up the broom to clean the dingy areas surrounding the South Railway station. The students of Edappally Higher Secondary School cleaned the Changampuzha Park, which is frequented by hundreds, and the government run Kalavathy School students picked up the heaps of waste around Fort Kochi hospital. On the flip side, the drive got reduced to a ‘Shramadhan’ exercise. The civic body did not allocate any additional funds for the programme. The attempts to publicise the idea of decentralised waste management did not find any takers. In few places, the garbage piles returned soon after the cleaning drive.
“They carried out a cleaning drive in R K Pilla road recently. But, it was just a photo op. The trash collected during the drive still lies on the roads. People have resumed throwing waste into the pile and the place stinks now,” said Karuvelipady councillor Prakashan.
According to resident’s associations, the two week long drive has been a success in various places like Kaloor, Palarivattom and Edapally but it has not made much difference in other areas. Recently, in a meeting between the Mayor and office bearers of various resident’s associations, a discussion was held on how to convert the waste into manure. But, nothing has been done to follow up the decisions and the matter remains a wishful thinking.
The first phase of ‘Mission Clean Kochi’ will end on November 14. If nothing else, the cleaning drive has exposed the crude shortage of vehicles and man power in the corporation which is necessary for waste management.
“The Edappally zone consists of seven divisions. There are only ten workers and a handful of vehicles to move out the waste. This crude deficit has not been addressed in the ongoing drive. This is the reason why the mission got reduce to just a show set up for the benefit of the imminent local body elections,” said CPM leader Anil Kumar.
The corporation standing committee for health chairman Ashraf T K refuted such allegations. “Six to seven additional lorries were roped in to move the waste out of the city to Brahmapuram during these two weeks. We also popularised the use of bio-gas plants for decentralised waste management,” he said.