KOCHI: Kochi corporation is all set to present its budget for the 2023-24 financial year in a few days. At the same time, the local body authorities who announced Rs 200-crore worth projects in the last budget for solid waste management and treatment couldn’t implement most of the projects.
Had the authorities been able to implement at least a few of the projects among them, the fire mishap on the solid waste treatment plant premises at Brahmapuram could have been averted. One of the major promises in the budget was that a master plan for Brahmapuram would be prepared and implemented. “We prepared the master plan but we couldn’t implement it,” mayor M Anilkumar said. “We will be able to implement the projects only after the legacy waste lying on the plant premises is cleared,” Anilkumar said.
But he is unable to answer why the legacy waste couldn’t be cleared and around 40 acres where the waste is lying couldn’t be rehabilitated. The 2022-23 budget promised that the legacy waste would be cleared and the land would be rehabilitated soon. Another important announcement was that a new windrow compost plant to replace the existing dilapidated plant would be constructed in 2022-23 fiscal at a cost of Rs 30 crore.
But the corporation authorities continued ‘treatment of biodegradable waste’ at what they claimed to be a windrow compost plant, though all competent agencies testify that it lacks the bare minimum facilities to treat the waste in a scientific manner. “We would have constructed the new windrow plant unless the opposition raised objection against the project.
They wanted the government to choose either the new windrow plant or the proposed waste-to-energy plant. That caused the delay,” Anilkumar said. The end result is that the corporation authorities enhanced the cost of the proposed windrow compost plant to around Rs 60 crore from the previous year’s outlay of Rs 30 crore.
Another promise in the budget was that the corporation will take measures to prevent plastic and other non-biodegradable waste entering the backwaters and sea by including it in the Union government’s ‘Cities Combating Plastic Entering the Marine Environment’ project.
The project called ‘Wealth from Waste’ also was announced in the budget. The plan was to collect all plastic bottles and other plastic waste. A centre for recycling and sales would be started, the corporation authorities announced in the budget. “All such projects remain on paper.
Had they successfully implemented at least a few of the projects announced for solid waste treatment, the mishap at Brahmapuram could have been averted,” opposition leader Antony Kureethra said. “The corporation authorities should reveal how many of the Rs 200-crore worth projects could be implemented and where has the money gone,” Kureethra said.
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