Talking to DT Next, a senior official from Zone 13 said that the clean up that began on Thursday morning would continue through the evening. Around 155 workers have been deployed to clean up the garbage on the beach and the surrounding roads that lead to the church. “Usually, we have about 20 people deployed. But during the festival time, we need more hands and we have roped in more workers to speed up the cleaning operations on the beach,” said the official.
The official added that as against the routine garbage collection of 8 tonnes, till evening they had removed 32 tonnes garbage. “Devotees had taken the food and other items into the beach, so there has been a pile-up of trash. We will clean through the night.”
Residents near the church and the beach complained of open defecation and indiscriminate dumping outside their homes. Kamakshi Subramaniyam, a resident of Besant Nagar 4th Avenue, said, “They sit on the roads outside residential apartments because of lack of adequate toilet facilities.” She added that long-pending suggestions like providing mobile toilets are yet to be implemented. “The earlier Mayor Saidai Duraisamy had valued the suggestion, but he said they would provide about two of them. But that is hardly going to help. We need more toilets, and the church has to be a lot more proactive in providing it for the devotees who visit the shrine.”
TD Babu, founder, SPARK, a civic forum, said that since it is a calendar event, planning with adequate facilities would make the management more organised. “Corporation should not allow eateries in all places. Instead, restricting the number at some points will help for better collection and disposal of garbage. The water packets can be replaced by water fountains,” he opined.