Industry-Government and Civil Society Come Together to Build a Zero Waste Kerala

KOCHI:
Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in partnership with Suchitwa Mission and the Government of Kerala organized a one-day investors’ meet to promote the Recycling Industry in Kerala on 13 January 2016. Upholding the principles of a true democracy, this meet witnessed intense dialogue between the industry, the sSH0_7097tate government and the civil society as to how they could jointly build a self-sustaining waste management sector in the state.
V P Nandakumar, Chairman, CII Kerala & Managing Director & CEO, Manappuram Finance Ltd welcomed the gathering. K. T. Jaleel, Minister for Local Self Governments, Welfare of Minorities, Wakf and Haj Pilgrimage inaugurated the meet and set the stage for the discussion. He explained the state’s priorities and the government’s willingness to act fast if the right proposal was put forth. The focus would be on eco-friendly and decentralised projects and projects which had demonstrated successful implementation either in the state or elsewhere would be given preference, said the minister.
Heads and senior employees of over 100 companies participated in the meet which included a healthy mix of big players as Pepsi, Coca cola, ITC, HUL, TCS etc, recyclers and other companies who are in the waste management sector , potential start-ups and other investors.The meet also had a good representation from the bureaucracy with active participation from Paul Antony, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Industries & Commerce, Government of Kerala, Dr Beena, Managing Director, KSIDC,
Dr K Vasuki, Director, Suchitwa Mission, and Kabeer B. Haroon, Managing Director, Clean Kerala Company Limited (CKCL) in addition to MLA’s M Swaraj and John Fernandez and Divya Anilkumar, Chairperson, Maradu Municipality. Government representatives from other municipalities, corporations also joined the meet. Professors and researchers from academic institutions and NGOs also participated in the meet
The participants, who were almost 300 in number, were divided into groups of 20 with proportionate representation from all categories of participants. The group discussed on how a suitable model for waste management can be worked out in the state of Kerala and the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) be put to action. Concerns regarding lack of support from the local public and the local bodies despite receiving all formal approvals from the government were raised by the recyclers. To this the government insisted on the need to keep the premises of their units clean and work in partnership with the local people such that they also get a share of the profits earned. The industry also requested that only technically qualified officers from the government should be deputed for inspection. To this Dr Vasuki informed the government is planning to form a monitoring committee which would include, academicians and civil society representatives and they would be involved in the entire project right from the beginning. This, Dr Vasuki said, would ensure greater transparency and also help reduce public protest. The government also promised to look into viability gap funding for recyclers to address the concern of lack of availability of sufficient raw material to run recycling plants in the state. M C Dathan, Scientific Advisor to CMO assured quick clearance of proposals and speeding of paper work and reassured the government’s willingness to extend all possible support and address their concerns, if they are justifiable.
The proceedings of the group discussion would now compiled by the Government and used for preparing the roadmap for making Kerala a Zero waste state. A follow up meeting would also be called for soon, informed Dr Vasuki.

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