New commissioner says garbage clearance, roads top priorities
CHENNAI: Minutes after taking charge as Chennai Corporation commissioner for the second time in less than two years, D Karthikeyan on Thursday declared war on garbage. Sources say the coming days will see some serious stock-taking, with the new commissioner looking at the available resources and their judicious distribution before pushing for more.
Garbage pile-up has been a bitter talking point among denizens for long. City clean-up was one of the first promises of J Jayalalithaa who set a 100-day deadline soon after taking over as the chief minister in May. Replacing Karthikeyan as the corporation commissioner on December 1 last year, Davidar, too, had spelled out garbage clearance as his top priority. Yet the city stinks.
On his comeback, Karthikeyan may have sounded parroting an earlier statement, but there are a lot of expectations from him. “Garbage remains the city’s perennial problem,” he told reporters at Ripon Buildings. “Cleaning up the city, along with repairing roads will be my top priority.” Murmurs in the corridors of Ripon Buildings indicate that Karthikeyan, who was chairman and managing director of Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation since December 2011, had caught the chief minister’s eye for his administrative skills, though he has not been a favourite among the AIADMK affiliated unions of the civic body.
Davidar, considered an efficient officer, however, could not deliver on his promises, be it garbage clearance or relaying of all potholed roads in ten days. His biggest test came in January 2012 when Neel Metal Fanalca, the old conservancy agency, wrapped up operations, but Ramky Enviro, the new agency, was not yet ready to take over. For more than a month, the city streets reeked of rotting vegetable peels and other refuse.
“The political leadership is not happy with the way civic affairs were being run. Complaints of garbage pile-up and bad roads had become a constant in every conversation within and outside the government. The new commissioner will have a tough job,” said a ruling party member. The city generates more than 4,000 tonnes of garbage and its two dump yards are brimming.
Karthikeyan, obviously aware of the challenge, was all energy when he came to Ripon Buildings on Thursday.
Spelling out roads as another top priority, he said he would study in detail the collection of plastic for laying roads. Plastic has been hard to come by from residents, though the civic body has been going door to door.
Karthikeyan has to his credit the smooth conduct of the Chennai Corporation elections in November. He is a familiar face among officials and civic staff.
He will also be present on the next corporation council meet which is going to be held on 18 April.