Kerala govt, BPCL agree in principle to set up plant in Kochi to process waste

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Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government and the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) on Wednesday reached an in-principle agreement to set up a plant in Kochi to process waste and produce compressed biogas, nearly two months after the port city witnessed a massive fire at the Brahmapuram dump site, exposing an outdated waste management practice.

A decision in this regard was taken in a meeting held by government representatives, including State Local Self-Government Minister M B Rajesh, Industries Minister P Rajeev, and State Chief Secretary VP Joy with representatives of BPCL, an official statement said here.

Rajesh said the plant will be constructed by BPCL on the land handed over by the government, and the company will also be responsible for maintaining the plant.

"BPCL has informed us that the plant can be made operational within a year. The current understanding is to set up the plant in Brahmapuram itself. The municipal solid waste of Kochi and nearby municipalities can be treated at the plant", Rajesh said.

The minister said the natural gas produced through waste treatment will be used for BPCL's operations.

Along with this, the organic manure produced will be marketed.

Rajesh said the Kochi city corporation and municipalities in its neighbourhood will ensure that the sorted waste is available for daily plant operation.

"The decision will be a crucial step in the government's efforts to find a solution to Kochi's garbage problem. The plant is expected to be operational within a year," he said.

Earlier, BPCL had expressed its willingness to provide an amount from CSR funds to set up windrow compost in Kochi.

However, BPCL came up with the new proposal after finding that a natural gas plant would be more suitable for Kochi's climate.

Further discussions related to the project will be held in the coming days.

A massive fire had broken out at the waste treatment plant in Brahmapuram on March 2, and thereafter, the air quality in Kochi city and neighbouring municipalities and gram panchayats had worsened as they were engulfed in the dense smoke billowing from the garbage dump. PTI

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