Only way out is to win over the people, says Manjalamkuzhi Ali

Minister for Urban Affairs Manjalamkuzhi Ali said here on Sunday that the city Corporation could have handled the protest against the garbage plant by residents of Vilappil grama panchayat in a much better manner.

Though one group in the grama panchayat has withdrawn its hunger protest, the Vilappilsala Janakeeya Samithi (VJS) is continuing its strike and the government is literally being forced to close down the factory, he said.

Need for public support

Talking to The Hindu, Mr. Ali said the government cannot use force to open the factory and the only way out was to win over the public.

He said the residents of Vilappil would not have been so furious had the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation handled the factory well when it was operational.

The manner in which it was run had led to a situation where the people had nothing but resentment towards the factory.

Cannot be convinced

And in the present circumstances, it was not easy to convince them to reopen the factory.

They had a bitter experience and it was here that the Corporation’s role could have made a difference if the situation had been handled better, the Minister said.

On the Corporation’s statement that it would persist with its efforts to get the factory reopened with a counter-affidavit to be filed in the High Court, Mr. Ali said he hoped the all-party meet on Monday, though to mainly focus on the quarry proposal, would help change the Corporation’s stance as it would evolve a consensus on clearing accumulated garbage

In Vilappilsala, though the Samyukta Samara Samithi (SSS) led by panchayat president S. Shobana Kumari and other political representatives of the area announced withdrawal of the hartal and the hunger strike, the VJS led by S. Burhan, which had launched the agitation a decade ago, is still on protest mode.

Apprehensions

The VJS had already expressed its apprehension over the actual objectives of the SSS that withdrew its agitation without getting a written assurance from the government.

Stir to continue

Mr. Burhan and his followers stated on Sunday that their strike would continue, and if need be, intensified in the coming days, till they got a written order on the factory’s closure and adequate compensation was paid to the people of Vilappil and cases foisted on the members of the public were withdrawn.