Residents form human chain demanding closure of the yard

Member of Parliament, Coimbatore, P.R. Natarajan has written to Chief Secretary Debendranath Sarangi on the October 6 fire accident at the Coimbatore Corporation dump yard in Vellalore.

In the letter, copy of which was made available to The Hindu, he has said that Mr. Sarangi will do well to pay attention to the issue, hold discussions with the Secretary, Municipal Administration and Water Supply Department, and Secretary Environment and Forest, to fix responsibility on those officers who were responsible.

Following the October 6 fire accident, the Fire and Rescue Services Department has put the blame on the Coimbatore Corporation for not containing the fire for more than 40 hours. The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board has recommended “suitable action” to its head office and not gone in for suo moto action in neither this nor any of the previous 40 plus accidents.

Mr. Natarajan has said that thick black smoke spread over 25 acres of residential colonies in the yard’s neighbourhood.

Fire fighters had to battle the flames for over 40 hours. This fuelled anger and resentment among the residents against the Corporation officials and the former were forced to resort to road roko and agitations to highlight their plight.

The media has reported that between May 2003 and April 2012, the dump yard has seen fire on 45 occasions and the Corporation has reported none of this to the senior officials, he said and added that he had enclosed media reports.

The Corporation has to process 750-800 tonnes waste a day. The success of this largely depends on its ability to manage the waste by segregating it at source. Sadly, the Corporation has not been able to do this – the job of door-to-door collection of waste. In view of the investment of around Rs. 100 crore into the project, he was of the opinion that close monitoring of the functioning of the scheme was necessary to avoid leakage of funds as well as effective implementation.

Meanwhile, residents of Konavailkalpalayam – the locality near the Vellalore dump yard – formed a human chain in Gandhipuram on Tuesday evening seeking closure of the waste management facility at the site. Under the ‘Vellalore Kuppaikidangu Ethirpu Kuzhu’ banner, they said that in the last six months, water in open wells and from bore wells had turned yellow because the ground water was polluted. Residents in localities that fell within the five km radius of the yard were affected.

The police said that more than 200 residents participated in the protest.

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