KOCHI: The state-of-the-art biomedical waste treatment plant proposed by the Indian Medical Association Goes Eco-friendly (IMAGE) at Brahmapuram here will have to wait, at least for now. This follows the corporation council’s refusal to hand over three acres of land to IMAGE for the purpose.
Deputy Mayor TJ Vinod, who chaired the council, announced the corporation’s decision after both the ruling UDF and the Opposition LDF voiced concern over the proposed facility’s environmental fallout. The matter came up before the council after Local Self-Government Department (LSGD) Secretary TK Jose issued a directive to the civic body to earmark three acres of land for the proposed plant and provide the details to the IMA within three days.
His directive came during the National Green Tribunal (NGT) meeting in Thiruvananthapuram in July. “Currently, there is some practical difficulty in proceeding with the plan. Before that, the permission of Vadavukodu-Puthenkurissu panchayat is necessary. It may not be good to take a unilateral decision in this regard. If the people protest against this, it will also affect the garbage treatment facility,” TJ Vinodh said during the discussion.
Standing Committee (Health) chairperson Prathiba Ansari said the agenda for discussing the matter came up before the council without the Health Standing Committee’s nod. “The standing committee had shot down the proposal. But the committee has not seen any files regarding this recently which would have merited a discussion on the issue,” she said.
It is learnt the government’s decision to put pressure on the civic body came in the wake of IMAGE voicing concern over treating massive quantities of biomedical waste from hospitals at its plant in Palakkad.
Opposition demands Vigilance probe against Mayor
KOCHI: The Opposition LDF on Monday called for a Vigilance probe against Mayor Soumini Jain for allegedly giving prior sanction to release Rs 91.2 lakh collected as security deposit from the contractor of a housing project under the Rajeev Awaz Yojana project at Fort Kochi. Interestingly, ruling councillors VK Minimol, Hema Prahladhan, Shameena and Gracy Babu Jacob came out with a dissenting statement which was submitted before the corporation secretary.
After the matter came up for discussion before the council, it emerged that the corporation owes Rs 1.61 crore to the contractor for executing the project. And the Mayor issued prior sanction to release the security deposit after the contractor cited financial hardships in carrying out the remainder of the project. Opposition leader KJ Antony said the amount can be refunded only on the completion of the work. “ Jain showed clear favouritism in releasing the security deposit,” he said.