Total mess-up

A botched plan to remove waste from the premises of Kochuveli railway station heaps more misery on everyone involved
The cleaning staff of Kochuveli Railway station trying to bury garbage on a private land
The cleaning staff of Kochuveli Railway station trying to bury garbage on a private land

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : A day after TNIE highlighted the huge waste pile on Kochuveli Railway Station premises, an unscientific and illegal attempt was made to landfill the waste on a nearby private property. The attempt, which could lead to major health hazards and environmental pollution, was stopped midway. There are allegations that the Railways has been burying tonnes of waste in private land violating Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016 and Solid Waste Management Rules 2016.

Tonnes of garbage generated in trains were seen lying around on station premises, turning it into a literal dump yard. On Wednesday, Thiruvananthapuram Express had reported about the pathetic state of the Kochuveli station. Following this, workers attached with the railways started removing the accumulated waste using machinery since morning. Garbage-laden truck was seen transporting the waste to a nearby private property where the workers buried the waste, violating norms.

Karikkakom ward councillor K G Kumaran tells TNIE that this is not the first time the railway authorities have done this. “They should set up proper waste management facilities to handle waste. They cannot dump garbage on private properties thus causing environmental pollution and disturbing the lives of the residents,” says Kumaran. He said a similar attempt was made four days back by the railway authorities and the health wing under the City Corporation had given warnings multiple times.

Meanwhile, the official in charge of the private property where the waste was dumped told TNIE that they were unaware of this issue. “We sealed the property immediately. We were using the land for dumping piling waste from construction sites and was not aware of dumping of garbage there,” says the official.

After the information on the illegal burial of waste broke out, the health squad under the Kadakampally Health Circle swung into action. “It’s the responsibility of the Railways to handle the waste generated in their property. They cannot illegally bury the waste. A notice will be served to station authorities,” says an official of the health wing.

The cleaning staff of Kochuveli Railway station removing plastic bottles | pics: B P Deepu
The cleaning staff of Kochuveli Railway station removing plastic bottles | pics: B P Deepu

Kochuveli station generates around 1 tonne of garbage every day and according to railway authorities, efforts are in full swing to set up waste treatment facilities at the station. Even after repeated attempts, the railway authorities refused to give a proper response to the looming waste crisis at the station.

The railway authorities blame the local officials for improper waste management at Kochuveli.

“Our primary responsibility is to run trains, and we are trying our best to handle the waste generated at all our premises responsibly,” says a local railway official. “We are getting good support from local bodies in other southern districts. We started removing accumulated waste from Kochuveli from January 25. It is a slow process because it takes time to gather up the waste and bury it,” he adds.

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