Chalai traders cry foul, demand slashing service fee for waste management

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Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Hundreds of traders under the Chalai health circle are expressing their dissent against the decentralised waste management plan of the city corporation. The traders are refusing to hand over the waste generated at their shops to private service providers who have been brought in by the civic body for carting away waste. 

As per the fee fixed by the corporation council, the service providers charge anywhere between Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 from small and large shops respectively within the corporation limits. Lack of land for waste disposal and facilities for managing large quantities of plastic and solid waste generated in the division is turning into a headache for the health authorities. Most alleys and public places in Chalai are witnessing accumulation of waste with dumping of garbage bags becoming more rampant. 

‘Fee too high’
Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi Chalai Unit president V L Suresh said most traders cannot afford the huge service fee levied by private waste disposal companies. “Earlier we used to pay around `50 for waste management, it has now gone upto `500 for small shops. Ever since the pandemic outbreak, traders have been at the receiving end and business men are struggling to make both ends meet. It is unfair to charge us for waste disposal which is the responsibility of the civic body,” said Suresh.

He added that even main roads inside the market are turning into dumping grounds. “It’s not the traders who are involved in dumping of waste. We are ready to hand over the waste to private companies if they reduce their fee. The amount of waste generated at shops varies depending on the business. A vegetable or fruit shop will have more solid waste and the kind of waste generated at a textile shop or a utensil shop will be different. As per the current norm, all shops have to pay this same amount which is unfair. We have brought the issue to the notice of civic authorities and have demanded to convene an all party meeting to resolve the same,” added Suresh. 

No place to dump waste
The Pump House Road, one of the key roads linking the Chalai Market with Attakulangara bypass, is testament to city’s faltering waster management system. Chalai ward councillor Simi Jyothish alleged that the service providers employed by the civic body are the one dumping waste in Chalai.

“We are struggling to manage waste in the ward because of lack of land. There is huge resistance among residents and traders as waste dumping is turning into a menace. When I raised the issue with the council, I was told that it is the responsibility of the ward councilor to find land for waste disposal but there is just no available land,” said Simi. 

She added that the only way out is to bring in more service providers to cart away waste generated in Chalai. “But the rate fixed by the corporation is too high and the traders are not ready to cooperate. More discussions will be held to sort out the issue.”