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| Last Updated:06/02/2014

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Puri beach sanitation privatized, greens livid

Debabrata Mohapatra, TNN, 03 February, 2014

 

BHUBANESWAR: Unfazed by stiff opposition from environmentalists, the tourism department on Sunday privatized sanitation work on Puri beach. A Bhubaneswar-based voluntary organization would carry out the cleaning instead of the local municipality.

 

In the first phase, the outsourced agency has engaged nearly 80 sweepers, who would clean the beach from 6 am to 10 pm. "Subsequently, the agency would press into service a mechanized sweeping machine on the beach," tourist officer (Puri) Bijay Kumar Jena said.

 

In September last year, activists of two voluntary organizations Beach Protection Council of Odisha (BPCO) and Barefoot, both stakeholders in tourism industry, opposed the privatization of beach sanitation. "We learnt the department would pay lakhs of rupees to the NGO a month while the same task could have been done cheaper by strengthening the sanitation wing of Puri municipality," president of BPCO Jagannath Bastia said. "The department should have first made a beach sanitation plan before hiring a private agency for the cleaning work," Bastia said. "If the company engages mechanized sweeping machine, it will destroy sand dunes on beach and violate coastal regulation zone (CRZ) norms. The government should evict encroachments on beach first," Bastia said.

 

Official sources said Puri municipality used to spend nearly Rs 40,000 a month for cleaning the beach by engaging around 20 sweepers. "Instead of engaging an outside NGO, the tourism department should have involved unemployed youths like lifeguards and photographers in the cleaning activities. This would have generated employment for local people," Barefoot founder Yugabrat Kar said.

 

Vendors keep polluting the beach by selling imperishable food products. Several hotels have allegedly been flouting the environment pollution norms by discharging sewage onto the beach. A group of foreigners had left the district administration red-faced by taking up brooms and cleaning the beach in January 2010. An embarrassed administration had convened several meetings and pledged to carry out rigorous cleaning exercises on the beach.


Source:articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2014-02-03/bhubaneswar/46962381_1_rigorous-cleaning-exercises-beach-protection-council-bijay-kumar-jena