THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Expressing serious concern over the crisis in the city ever since the stoppage of garbage collection from December 21, Shashi Tharoor MP has called for the immediatereopening of the Vilappilsala garbage plant in order to restore the status quo, with a conviction and plan to address larger issues and alternative measures and improvements in a time-bound manner.
Tharoor felt that it is not right to give up the Vilappilsala treatment complex when only works amounting to Rs 2.5 crore out of the total budgeted Rs 13.58 crore for the setting up of the modern plant have been completed. Misplaced agitation should not be allowed to hold the entire city hostage on this account, he opined.
Once completed, the Vilappilsala treatment plant will be able to process the waste scientifically with considerable reduction in the present conditions there. The residents of Vilappilsala have to cooperate in the larger public interest, especially since the site has been functional for quite some time now.
If need be, the residents who wish to relocate should be fully assisted to do so and the project should be completed on a war footing. Management of waste, domestic as well as those generated by commercial establishments such as markets, eateries and institutions, is the primary responsibility of the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation, he reminded.
”They cannot abrogate their responsibility to this end by trying to conveniently place the blame on others,” he added.
Tharoor said that generation of waste is not unique to Thiruvanathapuram. All over the world, towns and cities face similar problems and it is only a question of dealing with the problem efficiently. “They should have anticipated these problems before reaching this critical stage,” he said.
The Corporation has also let go opportunities that have arisen to access up-to-date technologies and systems available in other places. The offer of the Council of Barcelona, Spain, for signing a twinning agreement with the city was one such example. Other cities of comparable size in India and abroad are effectively dealing with similar problems.
Reminding that panicky solutions may not work even in the short run, Tharoor said that decentralised management of waste makes sense only up to a point, but large disposal sites cannot be totally dispensed with.
Decentralisation cannot mean every home and every building doing its own waste management that would be unscientific and unsafe since standards vary widely. Much of this waste will ultimately find its way into the sewerage system, leading to further complications. It can only mean the setting up of smaller waste treatment plants in select panchayats and city neighbourhoods to process their own waste, but not in every home or every ward, to complement Vilappilsala.
The Corporation should ensure that, together with associations such as FRAT and Kudumbashree, a system of segregation of waste at the point of generation is created and enforced through fines, if necessary.
If the Corporation requires any additional resources for the above approach, it could be put into a project proposal and sent to the Union Government through the State Government, the MP suggested.