According to reports, while the Kochi Corporation is wondering where to dump the tonnes of garbage produced in the city everyday, seven biogas plants constructed in various parts of the city lie in a dilapidated state.
The biogas plants at the Ayurveda Hospital compound at Fort Kochi, Pachalam Market, Edappally, Mattanchery and at the Kaloor slaughterhouse have been lying inoperative for long. The other plants at the Ernakulam Market and Ravipuram, exploded last year as they were overloaded with gas. Since the non-functional biogas plants became a threat to the people residing in nearby areas, the corporation decided to shut them down.
However, the company which constructed them, argued that the plants could still be made operational and needed only minor repairs. Therefore, the corporation council has asked the health officer to look into the matter and give a report on the present condition of the plants.
The plants constructed by a private company had stopped working within a few months of installation. The civic body had invested `68 lakh for setting up the plants and an additional `6 lakh was spent for maintenance work.
However, the social activists have come out against the decision stating that shutting down these plants would not only mean a monetary loss but also worsen the existing waste disposal mechanism. “If repaired, these plants can be of great help to those living in the area. The biodegradable waste produced in the surrounding area can be brought there and used to produce gas. This will solve the problem of public waste disposal. Moreover, the biogas can be used as cooking fuel.
It can also be used for lighting the streets like in foreign countries,” said Anthony Puthur, a social activist. “If the corporation had made proper use of the fuel, the explosions at the Ernakulam Market and Ravipuram could have been prevented,” he added.