The rain has turned the once-tarred road into a slushy mud track and the stench from the hillocks of garbage dotting the market has become unbearable

The consistent rain over the past couple of days and the Onam festivities have only added to the garbage crisis in the city. The situation at the busy Chala market has become so severe that shop-owners here have started terming it the “next Villapilsala.”

V.S. Padmakumar, chairman of the works standing committee of the city Corporation, said on Friday that the local body was awaiting the green signal from the State government to transport waste to Parassala for platform construction. “Before we begin transportation, there is some civic work that is pending, and we have been told that the road repairs in the area will be completed within three to four days,” he said.

Shrugging their shoulders at promises of transferring the mounting waste, traders at Chala appear resigned to an ugly fate. The rain has turned the once-tarred road into a slushy mud track and the stench from the hillocks of garbage dotting the market has become unbearable.

“I have been working here for over 25 years, and have never seen the market facing such a terrible situation,” said a worker here, who requested that he not be named. Busy wrapping up the waste collected, he said traders themselves were disposing of the waste since no Corporation worker was around to do it.

Mr. Padmakumar said workers could take away the garbage only if there was a place to take it. “Once the construction work at Parassala gets under way, they can resume work,” he said.

“This is no political game and we have no ulterior motive to destabilise the government or the Corporation. The different factions should come together and prioritise the needs of the people over political gains,” a shop-owner here said.

Airing concern

Shop-owners here wave off health concerns, and stress that their main apprehension was about the adverse effects of the garbage situation on their businesses. “Why will customers come here, trudge through this mud, and bear the stench?” asked one.

Federation of Residents’ Associations Thiruvananthapuram (FRAT) Chala zone secretary N. Sivakumar said further neglect of the situation could lead to contamination of water-supply lines and clogged drains. He suggested that waste-treatment plants be set up in every ward, a proposal that Mr. Padmakumar said was not feasible owing to the lack of land within the city.

Chala ward councillor Usha Satish said a temporary solution the Corporation had followed up on involved transporting the waste for agricultural purposes on request. “We had taken a few loads to an area near Kaliyikkavila, but on the second day the local residents protested as they did not want market waste to be used in their locality, even for agricultural purposes,” Mr. Padmakumar said.