Stinking heaps of refuse pile up on city streets

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Civic body yet to choose contractor for collection of waste

KOCHI: Garbage heaps have started resurfacing in several parts of the city, as the civic authorities are yet to zero in on a contractor for disposing of waste.

Gunny bags stuffed with refuse have piled up in many places. Similar is the case with most garbage collection points in the city. The stinking heaps have become a public health issue, with their collection and transportation slowing down significantly.

“The civic administration has been going slow on choosing a contractor for collection and transportation of refuse from city streets to the solid waste treatment plant at Brahmapuram,” said K.J. Antony, LDF leader in the corporation council.

Mayor Soumini Jain had personally attended a meeting of the health committee convened to discuss the issue. Though the meeting, which was held 10 days ago, resolved to award the tender to the contractor who quoted the lowest rate, the civic administration failed to take a decision, Mr. Antony added.

Earlier, the corporation had asked a contractor to go ahead with his work till a new person was selected for the task. Since an ad hoc arrangement was made, the collection of waste slowed down. There has also been a significant fall in the number of vehicles used for collecting and transporting waste to the treatment plant. There were complaints that only 60% of the original number of vehicles were being used, resulting in the piling up of refuse, he said.

Mr. Antony alleged that most vehicles purchased by the corporation for transporting refuse were not in service. The local body is not paying attention to bring its own vehicles back to service, he said.

Meanwhile, a senior functionary of the Health Department, who admitted that waste collection had been hit, said the local body would negotiate with contractors on Monday to bring down vehicle rent. The official also conceded that there had been a fall in the number of vehicles that transported refuse to the treatment plant.

“If a settlement was reached on Monday, orders could be issued within two or three days to the new contractor to resume waste collection,” the official said.

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