KOZHIKODE: Septic waste management seems to have gained an extra zing in the city. Government officers and private cleaning agencies are learnt to be working hand in glove to mint money through the lucrative business in the veil of night. As per the date collected by ‘Express’, the racket is raking in over `50 lakh a month through the illegal business.
Though licence issued by the local administration is mandatory for the cleaning agencies to carry out the work, ‘Express’ has found that none of the agencies has taken necessary operational licence and the Corporation is clueless about the number of such agencies functioning in the city.
Officers, on condition of anonymity, stated that the agencies are oiling the palms of the officers concerned to illegally carry out their business.
According to the city police, on an average three cases of septic waste dumping in residential areas are reported in the city police limits every month.
“The private tankers clean three to five toilets per day and the waste is dumped in remote open spaces, water bodies and canals in and around the city,” said Assistant Commissioner of Police (North) Josy Cherian.
Ironically, the Corporation, which is responsible to monitor the waste management in the city, is totally ignorant of where the septic waste is being treated or dumped. As per the norm, the vehicles being used for waste removal should be registered at local body. But, not even a single vehicle is registered with the Corporation yet.
“Those who engage in human waste disposal are supposed to ensure proper land and plant to treat it,” Corporation health inspector Prasad said.“Though an agency had approached the Corporation for registration, approval was not given as it didn’t comply with the rules,” he added.
“The cleaning agencies usually operate in night and dump the waste into canals or paddy fields. Though the police register cases against the tanker lorry drivers, the owners of the agencies are spared,” the officer said.
“It’s a fact that the city dwellers are depending on the service of these agencies to clean the septic tanks. The possibility of using the same vehicles for water supply cannot be ruled out,” the officer said.
An inquiry conducted with different agencies also confirmed the nexus they have with the government officers. Owner of a septic waste cleaning agency admitted that no such agency is functioning in the city with permission.
“It is almost impossible to obtain the licence from the local body. And, there is no licenced septic tank cleaning agency in the city. A treatment plant is compulsory for getting the licence. Setting up a treatment plant is quite expensive. Besides, availability of land for the purpose is also an issue,” he said.