In the absence of a conciliatory move from the State government and the City Corporation, the Janakeeya Samiti, spearheading the agitation against the garbage treatment plant at Vilappilsala, began preparations to block garbage trucks from Sunday night.

Corporation sources said they had received an assurance from the government and the district administration that the fleet of trucks carrying garbage to the plant would be given adequate police protection. They pointed out that failure to transport at least a portion of the garbage from the city to the plant would result in solid waste accumulation in the city.

“The blockade could not have begun at a more inopportune time. Saturday being a hartal, no cleaning was possible. The garbage will have to be shifted to the plant on Sunday itself to prevent accumulation. Else, the proposed hartal on Monday will worsen matters and lead to a real crisis. We are on the brink of a desperate situation,” a senior Corporation functionary said.

The Corporation maintained that it is up to the State government to find a negotiated settlement to the thorny issue that has defied a solution so far. A meeting convened by Minister for Urban Affairs P.K. Kunhalikutty on Saturday failed to materialise.

The samiti announced that it would go ahead with plans to block garbage trucks from Sunday night. Samiti office-bearers S. Burhan, L. Benetson, C.S. Anil, M.P. Sreedharan, and others said they had decided to step up their agitation against the plant that had made life miserable in the suburban village for the last 11 years and polluted their water resources.

“Every night at 8 p.m., residents of the Vilappil panchayat, including women and children, will assemble near the temple junction. As many as 250 volunteers will create a human wall to block the trucks from transporting garbage to the plant,” they said. As many as 40 local units of the samiti had launched a massive campaign to mobilise public support for the agitation. A two-day campaign on foot, and prayer meetings were also organised throughout the Vilappil panchayat as part of the campaign.

On Sunday morning, women will offer Pongala at Nedunkuzhy near the project site to highlight their demand to close down the plant. A press note issued by the samiti said social and cultural leaders would address the blockade of garbage trucks at 8 p.m. The samiti leaders said they would stick to the Gandhian method of non-violent agitation to press for their demands.

While the samiti wanted the plant to be shut down immediately, the Corporation wanted time to put a decentralised garbage disposal scheme in place.