Award-winning Tamil Nadu panchayat now litters on the roadside

Chennai, Nov. 20, 2012: Four years ago, the Vengaivaasal Village Panchayat won the Centre’s Nirmal Gram Puraskar for ensuring sanitation and awareness of hygiene.

Today, the garbage dumped by the local body on a stretch of the Medavakkam – Mambakkam Main Road is a source of major irritation to both residents of the vicinity and motorists.

The Medavakkam – Mambakkam Main Roadlinks two arterial roads – Velachery Main Road at Medavakkam and Vandalur – Kelambakkam at Mambakkam Village. For more than a year now, the Vengaivaasal Village Panchayat has been dumping nearly all the garbage generated within its limits on an open space on the margins of Mambakkam Main Road.

The subsequent non-stop burning of trash leaves behind a layer of soot on houses and residents, especially senior citizens, complain of severe air pollution.

For motorists, many of whom use this road to travel from Medavakkam to Kelambakkam, Tirupporur and even Mamallapuram, the visibility comes down drastically, especially early in the morning and in the evening.

This has caused a great deal of difficulty also to residents on the nearby panchayats – Perumbakkam and Sithalapakkam.

A little more than 3 tonnes of garbage is generated in this village panchayat every day. While a small portion is dumped beside the community hall on Vengaivaasal Main Road, the rest is dumped on Mambakkam Main Road. “This is a perfect example of what is wrong with the solid waste management practices in village panchayats like ours,” said P.Krishnan, a resident.

People living in recently-constructed apartment complexes say that the worsening of sanitation situation is a recent development. Residents of a gated community nearby said they conscientiously segregated kitchen waste, recyclable waste and non-degradable waste before handing it over to staff engaged in collection. But all this was in vain as all the different garbage was dumped at the same location, they said.

Effective collection and disposal of garbage is among the conditions for being eligible for the award. Kancheepuram district administration officials blamed the poor waste management system on the vacancy in the post of Coordinator, Total Sanitation Campaign scheme at the St. Thomas Mount Panchayat Union.

The block panchayat-level post has been vacant for more than a year. The coordinator from a neighbouring block, which already has 50 village panchayats, is in-charge of St. Thomas Mount Block. (Source: K. Manikandan, The Hindu)


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