Faced with increased public resistance against proposed sewage treatment plants in the State, the Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project (KSUDP) is planning to placate the agitated residents by taking them on a tour to some plant sites outside Kerala.
The proposal of the Kochi Corporation to set up a sewage treatment plant at Mundanveli had met with stiff resistance from locals.
The plant has been proposed to be set up on five acres. There was also resistance from some areas of West Kochi through which the network of pipelines to the plant were to be laid. Public unrest has also delayed the implementation of a project in Kollam district.
In an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court recently, the State authorities had stated that public resistance was delaying the implementation of the sewage treatment plant projects in many parts of the State. The apex court had come down heavily on the State government for its failure to set up the plants.
One of the proposals under the consideration of the KSUDP authorities is to take the representatives of the residents of the area to a modern plant at Vijayawada, which has been functioning successfully. Representatives from Kollam and Kochi may be taken to the plant site together, said an official.
Meanwhile, the Kochi officials of the KSUDP took a delegation from West Kochi to the plant site at Elamkulam, which had been functioning for decades. The technology engaged by the plant, that was established 60 years ago, was explained to the representatives of the residents.
The new plant would be engaging better and advanced technologies for the treatment of waste. It was also explained to the visitors that the functioning of the plant had not affected the quality of life of the people residing in close proximity to the plant, officials said.
Meanwhile, the Kochi Corporation is planning a public consultation for the residents of West Kochi on June 5. Residents from the areas through which the pipelines for the plant are to be laid will be invited to the meeting. The representatives of people from Mundamveli, Mattanchery and Fort Kochi will also be invited.
The local body has also proposed compensatory afforestation on 15 acres in lieu of the mangroves that were destroyed for developing the land at the plant site.
Nine species of mangroves will be planted at suitable sites in the district as part of mangrove afforestation programme, which will be implemented through the Social Forestry of the Kerala Forest Department.