The Kochi Corporation will write to the State government for permission to appoint additional sanitation workers for waste collection and transport on a daily wage basis.
Around 400 additional workers would be required since the existing staff strength did not match the city’s population and needs, said Mayor M. Anilkumar.
Around 750 sanitation workers were permanent corporation employees, said T.K. Ashraf, health standing committee chairman. Over 1,000 people had been employed nearly 10 years ago, but vacancies that came up later were never filled, he added.
The decision was taken at a special council meeting held to discuss an idea that Mr. Anilkumar had floated to make the city cleaner. He had named it HEAL Kochi – Health, Environment, Agriculture and Livelihood. The health standing committee, which was tasked with preparing a plan for the implementation of the idea, presented a draft proposal before the council on Monday.
Targeting “sustainable development”, the draft five-year plan presents existing ideas in a new proposal, and has not yet been approved by the council. Objectives include reducing the volume of waste, waste segregation and scientific treatment, creating more jobs in the process and increasing the income of the corporation’s sanitation workers, and encouraging organic farming at home and on vacant plots of land. The plan involves collection of waste from all households, with the corporation council fixing a fee that each household will pay for collection. Where residents are willing to treat biodegradable waste at home, the corporation will provide technical help, while non-biodegradable waste will be collected from all households once a week. Facilities will be set up at the ward level for segregation of non-biodegradable waste, including e-waste and construction waste. Waste collection and transportation to Brahmapuram will take place at night.
Opposition councillors slammed the proposal on the grounds that it was half-baked and vague, with some councillors calling it fanciful and impractical. While the plan as a whole was not opposed, it has been sent back to the health committee to incorporate details. “A detailed project report and a complete road map are necessary before the proposal can be approved,” said United Democratic Front councillor V.K. Minimol.
The plan also hopes to ensure “scientific treatment of waste at Brahmapuram” and the setting up of a greenbelt around the dumping yard. Since the plan contained no details on how that was to be achieved, the Mayor has tasked the health committee with preparing a master plan for the facility at Brahmapuram. The committee will also decide on the equipment needed for decentralised waste treatment, vehicles for transport and the formation of a project implementation unit at the corporation which will execute the plan once the details are worked out.