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Kolkata Municipal Corporations target: A vat-free city
June, 06th 2013

Residents of several areas across south Kolkata were in for a surprise on Wednesday. Instead of the regular whistles they are used to hearing every morning, which is a signal that it's time to deposit garbage in the rickety vans, a swank battery-driven vehicle was standing at their doorstep to collect the household waste. And there were civic workers in uniforms requesting them on the public address system to dump their garbage.

Prodded by the chief minister Mamata Banerjee, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) solid waste management department has undertaken an ambitious project to make Kolkata a vat-free city. The CM has given the Trinamool Congress-run civic board two years to complete the task. As part of it, the department first set up four 'garbage compactor stations' at Tallah Park, Kalighat Park, Southern Avenue and Ballygunge Circular Road.

Now, these battery-operated vans, once filled up with garbage, will go to the 'garbage compactor station' and release the load there. It started with the Southern Avenue station on Wednesday for which garbage was collected from Sarat Bose Road, Rashbehari Avenue and Lake View Road. The compactor will squeeze the garbage and the vehicles will then be driven to the Dhapa dumping ground for disposal of waste. These localities under KMC's ward 85 will be the first ones to become a 'vat-free zone' in Kolkata.

Local Trinamool councillor Debasis Kumar had put the system under trial for the past month and it was inaugurated on Wednesday by former mayor Subrata Mukherjee at a function organized near Deshapriya Park.

"These compactors have replaced four major vats from where garbage would spill over, causing major environmental pollution. Now, the scene is completely different. With modern technology at work, there is hardly any scope for environmental pollution," said Debabrata Majumder, mayor-in-council member overseeing the KMC solid waste management department. Majumder added that two more compactors are lined up for installation at Samsul Huda Road and Chetla.

Giving the details of a movable compactor machine, adviser to the solid waste management department Arun Sarkar said that it is capable of carrying three truckloads of garbage. "This apart, these battery-operated vehicles are environment friendly," Sarkar said.

A KMC official said the civic body has bought more than 20 such compactor vehicles under the Kolkata Environment Improvement Project (KEIP). "We are trying to arrange funds for buying more such vehicles so that the entire city may be made vat-free," said a KMC official.

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