Every time we go out, we wonder what has happened to all the good practices we’d seen as we grew up in the city. I’m talking of kochin. Once upon a time, municipality workers with tall brooms used to sweep the streets and leave them clean and tidy. Where has that category of people vanished? Doesn’t the municipality or corporation employ these workers any longer? Have these bodies relieved themselves of the responsibility of keeping the city clean? What are we paying the taxes for? Every resident pays the corporation tax and every employee pays professional tax, both of which are meant for the maintenance of the corporation/municipality.
Last week a friend from Aluva told me that the town stinks with accumulated waste. Residents had taken to the streets to protest against the utter dereliction of duty on the part of the municipality to keep the town clean. Apparently, not much good has come out of it.
Isn’t there something called accountability? Doesn’t the corporation owe anything to the taxpayers who pay their salary? What surprises me most is the total helplessness and inertia of the taxpayers to demand their right to minimum cleanliness.
It’s not as though there are no solutions to the waste accumulating. If the corporation/ municipality can acquire about 30 cents of land eachin a few locations in every city/town and start biogas plants, they can not only deal with the waste but also produce fuel to light the street lights over a large area. Biogas plants occupy so little space and are hassle free and produce useful by-products. In fact installing biogas plants in government schools which provide lunch for students producing, on a daily basis, huge waste which they struggle to dispose of, will go a long way in dealing with bio waste produced by the city. These schools can even make arrangements to have waste gathered from the neighbourhood within the radius of a kilometre or two. Biogas plants meant for institutions can take in more waste than they produce. Residents Associations can have their own biogas plants which will spare the residents the hassle of sneaking out of their houses when the roads are free and chucking stinking waste on the roadside far away from their houses. Ways of dealing with bio waste are plenty. I know this for sure ‘coos I, along with a few friends, was on the verge of launching a NGO for bio-waste disposal last December when fate intervened and deprived me of the minimum health required to run an organisation. But I have done my home work.
The point is 60% of the waste produced in the city of Trivandrum, for example, is bio-waste. All we, the people, need is the will to commit ourselves to keep the city clean. Ways and means to do it will present themselves once we set out to do it.
I was wondering - - - isn’t there some way of making the corporation accountable, some way of twisting their arm to do their job? Can’t we citizens approach the court with a new plea? All the deadlines from the high court to the Kochin corporation to dispose of the waste regularly have been ignored by the corporation. Wonder why it has not been hauled up for contempt of court!
The new ploy could be a request from the taxpayers to be allowed NOT to pay taxes till the corporation does its duty – a class action suit. If a thousand taxpayers can pool in Rs. 100 each, there will be enough resources to take the issue right up to the Supreme Court.
Withholding money will hurt, and resurrect the authorities’ conscience and sense of accountability which lie buried deep under tons of stinking waste.