THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : At a time when there is a lot of thrust on transforming Kerala into a zero-garbage state, the railway premises in the state capital are in quite a mess. Heaps of garbage welcome passengers at Kochuveli Railway Station, about 1km from NH 66.
The lack of proper waste management mechanism has turned the station into a dumping yard, and the accumulated waste has been irking commuters and residents alike.
Non-biodegradable waste, including plastic bottles, generated in trains and other junk from the platforms are dumped on the station premises. Several trains end their trips at Kochuveli. At times, waste from the Vande Bharat Express trains, too, are unloaded here.
According to sources, the station generates about a tonne of waste daily. Though the Railways has engaged a contractor to remove the waste, apparently, timely disposal has not been happening. Travellers as well as local residents slam the apathy of the authorities.
Karikkakom ward councillor K G Kumaran says the issue has been taken up with the Railway authorities. “Waste management is a major issue at the station. There are sewage-related issues as well,” he adds. “Railway officials have promised to sort these out at the earliest.”
The station lacks a facility to store the collected waste. According to officials, as per the contract, the waste is removed from the depot once a month.
Corporation officials say they have served notices to the Railway authorities to address issues. “We have no role in the management of waste generated on the railway premises; we are not allowed entry inside,” says an official with the civic body’s health wing.
“It’s their jurisdiction. When issues related to waste emerge, we issue notices. We have also issued a notice to the contractor handling waste at Kochuveli station for illegally dumping the waste in the Industrial Estate.”
Railways to set up waste plant
As per rules, the producer of the waste should manage waste at the source. Acknowledging this, a Railways official says a waste management facility will be set up at Kochuveli soon. “The work order has already been issued,” the official adds.
“We are planning to set up a two-tonne capacity composting plant with associated infrastructure, including a material collection facility at Kochuveli. If all go as planned, the facility will be ready by the end of this year,” said an official.
Furthermore, to reduce the amount of waste being unloaded at the station, the Railway authorities have identified 19 stations to split the load. “As per the current system, the entire waste generated in Thiruvananthapuram trains ends up here. To solve this, we have listed stations across the state, and the garbage will be evenly unloaded,” the official says.