Mayor promises to send a technical team, consult commissioner and look for option to shift the unit to Patto plant
The demand for removal of the composting unit from its present location at the Panjim market complex is growing louder.
A large number of traders on Monday staged a protest outside the market complex over this issue demanding immediate removal and shifting of the unit looking upon as a potential health hazard. Failure to remove the unit, they would close down the market complex and protest out on the streets, said the traders.
People passing near the market complex have complained of leftover vegetable and meat stench coming out of the facility, saying that Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP) officials are not working towards tackling the problem.
“We have been time and again asking the CCP to shift the plant as the stench is unbearable. Also looking at the health hazards, many people and vendors have suffered health problems in the past whereas some have even lost their precious lives; it is a slow poison. Many customers are also avoiding our shops due to the disgusting smell,” Panaji Municipal Market Tenant Association (PMMTA) President Rajendra Dhamaskar told media persons.
He said, “Almost 10 years back when the plant was erected, we were told that it was only temporary but over the years, it has continued to remain there. Also earlier it would only deal with dry leftover vegetable waste but now we see that fish and meat waste is also treated there. The stench, flies, mosquitoes and the left over water remaining in the drains is the biggest health hazard.”
The unbearable foul smells emanating from the filth has been compelling the people to pass by the road with their nose covered. The unit has become breeding grounds for mosquitoes, especially during the monsoon season. Stray dogs and cats also climb the wall and rummage through the leftovers for their food.
A vendor said, “The authorities seem to be least bothered about this issue. Also, due to the rains, dirty water gets collected in the vicinity, creating conditions for mosquito breeding. If precautionary steps are not taken by the concerned authorities, people living and working in the neighbourhood may become victims of various diseases such as malaria, dengue and chikungunya.”
People, who have been frequently visiting the fish, meat and vegetable markets, and even shopkeepers, are increasingly worried about the leftover dump and the health hazards that it poses. The fisherwomen at the market have been demanding that the composting unit be shifted far away from the market area.
CCP Mayor Vithal Chopdekar, who was called upon during the protest to visit the site, assured the vendors that they would be looking for options to shift this unit to the newly constructed plant at Patto.
“We were called by the vendors to visit the unit today. The stench is unbearable. The company DVG contract is up for renewal and we will be taking this on the agenda of the council meeting and also be sending a technical team here. We will also discuss with the commissioner and look for options of shifting this unit to the newly constructed plant at Patto,” said Chopdekar.