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Councillors seek monitoring

By Our Staff Reporter

COIMBATORE, JUNE 30 . The Coimbatore Corporation Council today demanded an end to the unsafe dumping of biomedical waste at the Vellalore compost yard.

Members of all the parties said a monitoring committee should be constituted by the Corporation to detect and end unsafe dumping by both private and Government-run hospitals. Blaming the private hospitals more, based on the findings at the yard recently, they said those causing health hazards by open dumping of biomedical waste should be sealed. Their disenchantment with the hospitals manifested in a very vocal condemnation of dumping of the waste in the yard .The chairperson of the Health Committee and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Councillor, C. Jayalakshmi, alleged that the City Health Department of the civic body had caused the problem by ordering that solid waste not be removed from hospitals.

The City Health Officer, K. Amudha, denied that the Corporation had ever issued such an order. The Corporation only wanted hospitals to find ways to dispose of biomedical waste without mixing it with garbage. She said the hospitals had even been told that until a common incinerator was installed, they could resort to deep burial of the waste.

The project for a common facilitator/incinerator has been put on hold as one of the bidders has moved the court against awarding of the project to another. The members called for safe alternative methods of disposal until the case was disposed of and the facilitator installed.

Even as the Communist Party of India's R. Devaraj rose to support Ms. Jayalakshmi's view that waste disposal was appalling in the city and the method of disposal at the yard even worse, the Deputy Mayor, K. Raghupathy, asked why action was not taken against those who had dumped biomedical waste at the yard on Sunday.

"These people (hospitals) charge exorbitant fee and yet cause health hazards to the people. It is time some deterrent action was taken against them," Mr. Devaraj said. At the same time, he also wanted the Corporation's and Government hospitals in the city to fall in line. "If our hospitals indulge in such activities, we cannot discipline the private hospitals," he warned.

The Leader of the Opposition and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam member, K.P. Jagannathan, said that many private hospitals were not booked for dumping biomedical waste in the open.

The Congress member, `Colony' R. Venkatachalam, asked why many of the hospitals did not find ways for safe disposal of the waste but violated every single rule of the Corporation to expand their buildings.

When the Mayor, T. Malaravan, intervened to suggest that the issue could be discussed later to find a solution, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) member, C. Padmanabhan, asked how much more time needed to be given to end unsafe dumping when enough and more time had already been given.

The members raised slogans against the hospitals - `Corporation, do not remove biomedical waste', `private hospitals, do not intimidate Corporation, have concern for public health'.

The Mayor then announced that 30 days could be given to the hospitals to find a solution. "If they do not evolve safe measures, we can think of action, even warn them that their premises will be sealed if there are rules providing for it."

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