Mahalingapuram residents say it is difficult to cook and even more difficult to have food

It is a battle that Latha Jayaram fights every morning as soon as she gets up. The Mahalingapuram resident fights throughout the day and ends it only when she goes deep into sleep. And this fight has been going on for the past two months or more, ever since flies invaded the residential locality.

There is not one place in the house where the fly is not present. It is difficult to cook and even more difficult to have the food, she laments. “It is difficult to even sauté condiments because I will to have to use the exhaust fan to keep the flies out.” The flies, however, get an upper hand because they get in through the gap between the base of the front door and the floor. They invade the plate as soon as the food is served. The person having the food will have to keep warding off the flies with the left hand even as he or she has food.

Ms. Jayaram says that the other problem the Mahalingapuram residents face is they cannot spend a few minutes in peace outside the house — one, due to fly menace, and two, the acrid breeze from the Coimbatore Corporation’s dump yard a few feet away.

For V. Murali the impact of fly menace is to be seen in his business. Flies fall into tea or coffee served to customers at his tea shop and when they return the same, he will have to serve a fresh cup. This results in a loss of a few tumblers of tea or coffee a day. And, customers other than those from Mahalingapuram and Konavaikalpalaym do not visit his shop. The customers in the two areas live among the flies and so they do not mind.

In the past three months, Mr. Murali has seen his business suffer because of flies. “I cannot open the shelves to serve cake, puffs or other eatables. The flies get in within seconds.” Daniel Jesudos, a member of the residents’ group that is demanding the shifting of the dump yard out of Vellalore, says that the groundwater is also polluted. The water is yellow, has a telling effect on the skin after bath and is unfit for cooking.

The residents depend on the potable water that the Vellalore Town Panchayat supplies. But then this is no good because the local body supplies the water through the very pipeline that it supplies the groundwater.

Mr. Jesudos adds that there has been an increase in incidences of fever and diarrhoea of late.

A doctor, who lives in Vellalore but treats residents from Mahalingapuram, says that he has seen an increase in patients with diarrhoea and fever and that could be due to the fly menace.

Even as the residents complain about the problems from the Corporation’s dump yard, there has been a fresh incident of dumping waste from Kerala.

According to the residents, they caught a lorry driver dumping packing material (polystyrene) in the open near the Kanjikonampalayam Pirivu on Sunday morning.

The residents informed the Podanur Police, who said that they would be able to register a case only if the material dumped was medical waste.

Sunday’s incident comes a few weeks after the Vellalore residents found medical waste from Vellore district. Meanwhile, the MDMK has urged the Coimbatore Corporation to set up a plant to process polystyrene waste. The material had the potential to pollute groundwater, said V. Eswaran, the party’s Youth Wing Secretary.

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