Corporation blames contractor; seeks explanation on fire accident

Residents of Konavaikalpalayam, Mahalingapuram, N.G.R. Nagar, Sakthi Eswaran Nagar and L.G. Nagar blocked the Chettipalayam Road on Monday, demanding closure of the Coimbatore Corporation’s dump yard in Vellalore.

As the Coimbatore Corporation officials’ and police’s efforts to pacify the crowd failed and traffic remained blocked, the police removed around 253 protestors, including 108 women.

R. Selvaraj, a resident of N.G.R. Nagar, said that the residents blocked the road from 10 a.m. to around 3 p.m., when the police picked them up and took them to a wedding hall there. He said that the residents’ grouse was that the locality, which had served as their home, had remained under a thick blanket of smoke for the past three days after fire broke out on Friday evening.

As of Monday evening, at the time of their arrest, the smoke from the Corporation facility continued to invade their living space. Young and old were affected and the former had reportedly developed breathing problems as the fire and smoke had become a frequent occurrence.

The Corporation, after every fire accident, claimed that it was in the process of initiating measures to segregate and process the waste. It also claimed to manufacture manure from degradable waste. But nothing seemed to be working. Mr. Selvaraj alleged that the Corporation had not followed Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board norms in managing the waste yard.

He said that repeated bad experience and failed promises left the residents with little choice but to seek closure of the yard.

Meanwhile, the Coimbatore Corporation in a release said that the contractor, Coimbatore Integrated Waste Management Company Private Limited, was at fault as it had not, as per requirements, spread gravel or construction debris on the waste that was to be dumped in landfill for scientific closure. The release said that the Corporation had sought a detailed reply from the contractor on the accident. It also detailed the measures the Corporation had taken in the past to manage the waste through various means.

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