Men­tally un­sta­ble wo­man had gone out ev­ery night to col­lect any­thing she could find, says peo­ple don’t un­der­stand value of waste; Corp trucks clear garbage

The New Indian Express - - TAMIL NADU - P JAWAHAR & NIRUPAMA VISWANATHAN @ Chen­nai

FOUR Greater Chen­nai Cor­po­ra­tion staff, a front-loader and five lor­ries were at work on Thurs­day, clear­ing the waste from one wo­man’s front yard - garbage she had qui­etly col­lected over 12 years.

While col­lect­ing dolls, but­tons or even soaps may fea­ture in one’s list of run-of-the-mill hob­bies, a 40-year-old wo­man in Jai Na­gar, near Koy­ambedu, said to be men­tally un­sta­ble, had gone out ev­ery night for the last decade to bring back any­thing she could find in dust­bins and road­sides, stash­ing it in her front yard, said her neigh­bours.

Over the years, her col­lec­tion has grown enough to fill five cor­po­ra­tion tip­per lor­ries, much to the cha­grin of civic body of­fi­cials on duty, on Thurs­day.

“Five trucks have been loaded so far, each with the ca­pac­ity of three-four tonnes. Our men are at work since morn­ing and we are ex­pect­ing to clear it fully only by evening,” said an of­fi­cial.

The yard was cleared as part of the Greater Chen­nai Cor­po­ra­tion’s anti-dengue cam­paign across the city.

“We have been re­sid­ing here for over 30 years. Ev­ery night, the wo­man goes out and brings back any­thing that she can find - some­times in carry bags, some­times with her bare hands. We tried con­fronting her sev­eral times, but she doesn’t stop,” said Savithri B, a res­i­dent.

Res­i­dents said they de­cided to take the mat­ter up with Cor­po­ra­tion of­fi­cials af­ter three chil­dren in the neigh­bour­hood were di­ag­nosed with dengue.

With ev­ery move of the civic body’s front-loader, hun­dreds of cock­roaches along with rats and bandi­coots crawled out of her stash, made up of torn stuffed toys, rags, slip­pers and hun­dreds of beer bot­tles.

“I ex­change the beer bot­tles for cash some­times, since I live alone and don’t work. The rest I’ve col­lected in case I have use for it in fu­ture,” said the wo­man, ap­pear­ing con­cerned.

She agreed to let of­fi­cials to clear the yard af­ter they gave her per­mis­sion to pick out the things that were most pre­cious to her. “They don’t un­der­stand the value of waste, scrap deal­ers make so much money,” she said.

Cor­po­ra­tion of­fi­cials said they were talk­ing to the wo­man’s rel­a­tives in Chi­dambaram for her treat­ment and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

“We had is­sued a no­tice to her, ask­ing her to clear the area. Since, she didn’t, we had to in­ter­vene,” said an of­fi­cial. Cor­po­ra­tion of­fi­cials dur­ing their an­ti­dengue drive, cleared un­used ma­te­rial in front of houses and shops, if own­ers failed to clear them af­ter no­tices were is­sued.


Cor­po­ra­tion of­fi­cials clear the waste from a sin­gle wo­man’s front yard in Jai Na­gar, Koy­ambedu, us­ing five mini tip­per lor­ries and a front-loader. The wo­man is said to have col­lected the waste over a pe­riod of 12 years, in Chen­nai |

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