Ali, Sivakumar hold meeting with local people

The government on Wednesday claimed it had consensus from all necessary quarters to go ahead with the proposed Integrated Municipal Solid Waste-to-Energy Plant at Chala, the first of the three such plants to come up in the city in a phased manner.

The claim to consensus came after an hour-long meeting held by Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar and Urban Affairs Minister Manjalamkuzhi Ali with various stakeholders from Chala at the Secretariat Durbar Hall here on Wednesday, including members of the action council at Chala that had objected when the government signed the agreement and was about to start construction of the plant recently.

Briefing the media after the in-camera meeting, Mr. Ali and Mr. Sivakumar said the government had decided to go ahead with the plant at Chala since there was a public consensus in favour of the plant as against the intense protests that had led to the stoppage of work for the plant earlier this year.

A PowerPoint presentation to convince the local people on the advantages of the plant and a continuing awareness creation programme would be initiated to make affairs smoother.

The plant, which as per original schedule was expected to be functional by March 31, would be operational in about three months after work commenced, Mr. Ali said. The Minister said that there was no difference of opinion from the various stakeholders, including representatives of political parties, trade unions, traders’ organisations, residents’ welfare associations and the action council. All of them, particularly members of the action council, would be involved in every stage of the plant.

Only from two wards

The government had already assured them that the plant at Chala would treat only garbage from the two wards of Chala and Manacaud and not from anywhere else in the city.

It is learnt that the participants of the meeting had expressed concern whether the government would keep its word on this issue. Some pointed out that similar promises were given before the Vilappilsala garbage plant was set up just to get the consent of the public and that once the factory became operational, it became the dump for the entire city.

Demand for GO

Some are also learnt to have demanded that the government issue an order prohibiting garbage from other parts of the city from being brought to Chala and also that the assurance be recorded without fail in the minutes of the meeting.

Mr. Sivakumar, who had said prior to the meeting that it was due to sheer luck that the city was yet to fall into the grip of any fatal epidemic because of the mounting piles of garbage all over, said work on the plant would begin as soon as the PowerPoint presentation for the public of Chala and the awareness campaign was off to a start.

Mayor K. Chandrika, V. Sivankutty, MLA, and leaders of all political parties and officials were present.