No more mess!

Public faith in governmental programmes being what they are, no wonder that the newly elected Thiruvananthapuram city corporation's announcement about cleaning up the city fetched no cheers.

The programme, "Green city, clean city", initially had few takers; but,very soon, a large number of residents' associations :nd voluntary organisations along with students, jumped into the fray, much to the pleasant surprise of municipal authorities. And soon, the, de-silting and cleaning of the entire network of 492 km of drains ended last month.

That was just the first phase of the initiative. "This shows that the drive was a tremendous success, with full public participation,' beamed Peeru Mohammad, health officer of the city corporation. He admitted that lack of enthusiasm and Initiative were the main reasons for the failure of earlier attempts.

The cleaning of the drains failing under 50 wards of the city was admittedly the most difficult part of the task. Some 600 workers; official and voluntary, had worked on this phase of the clean-up.

At the end of operations every day, the mayor, the corporation secretary and councilors formulated the next day's plans in an evaluation meeting. Officials stressed on permanent facilities for the removal of sand and silt, as the dogged drains were mainly responsible for the annual flooding of the city. But sewage water disposal remains an intractable problem. The corporation was able to remove only 60 per cent of the estimated 300 tonnes of waste water generated every day.

The garbage disposal site near the city's international airport was closed in 1985, due to bird menace affecting flights. Last year, the government acquired a 5.06 ha site in the 110 off outskirts of the city for disposing off garbage effectively. But now residents, fearing groundwater pollution, have formed a council to fight against the plan.