Fire at dumping yard on Friday triggered the protests
A garbage crisis looms large over the city with transportation of refuse to the Brahmapuram Solid Waste Treatment plant hit.
The Kochi Corporation was forced to suspend operations after a few protesters stopped vehicular movement to the plant site on Sunday.
The protests against the functioning of the plant were triggered by a fire that burnt plastic waste at the dumping yard on Friday. The protesters cited the health and environmental hazards posed by the burning of plastic at the plant.
Smoke that billowed from the burning plastic waste had caused discomfort to people and firefighters who tried to douse the fire. Spearheading the protest, V.P. Sajeendran, MLA, representing Kunnathunadu constituency, said the plant would not be allowed to function until a permanent solution was found to the issues plaguing it.
Mr. Sajeendran accused the Corporation of going back on its promises. He said though civic administrators promised to take steps to prevent leachate from entering the nearby water body and create a green belt by planting trees around the plant, nothing had materialised so far.
The Vadavukode-Puthencruz panchayat, where the plant is located, has issued a stop memo to the corporation asking it to stall the functioning of the plant till all issues are resolved. Though the functioning of the plant had been causing hardship to the panchayat, it had permitted the operation of the plant considering the requirements of the civic body.
No lorries transporting waste would be permitted into the plant site till the Corporation fulfils its promises in a time-bound manner, he said. Moreover, waste from neighbouring municipalities would not be allowed to be processed at the site. The intervention of the Chief Minister will be sought through a submission in the State Assembly on Monday, he said.
The Corporation authorities are pinning their hopes on a conciliatory meeting to be convened by Excise Minister K. Babu on Tuesday. Various stakeholders would be invited to the meeting to find a solution, said T.K. Ashraf, chairman of the Health Standing Committee of the Corporation.
The civic body would also seek police protection for its lorries transporting garbage to the plant site. The task of covering the burnt plastic waste using red earth was progressing. The functioning of the plant was not affected in any way, he said.
Mr. Ashraf said the collection and transportation of waste would resume shortly. “Garbage has not piled up on the city streets as the waste was loaded in vehicles. Once the issue is settled, it would be transported to the plant site,” Mr. Ashraf said.
Vadavukode-Puthencruz panchayat issues stop memo to Corporation
Excise Minister K. Babu to convene conciliatory meeting on Tuesday