With local people vehemently opposing the quarry option, ward members cannot accept the proposal

The move by the State government to convene on Monday an all-party meeting to give a final shape to the plan to deposit garbage in selected quarries in the city has left Corporation councillors in those areas between a rock and a hard place.

Even as their respective political parties may exert pressure on them to fall in line with the quarry project, on-the-ground realities would prevent these councillors from being anything but strong opponents of the government scheme.

The local sentiment against the quarry project has only strengthened over the past days at Kallidichavila, Vellar and Kuzhivila where quarries have been identified for sanitary landfills.

At Kallidichavila, near here, the local people have already decided to move the court against the move to deposit garbage at the water-filled quarry there. “About 1,000 people stood in the pouring rain the other day when the action council was formed. The people here are vehemently opposed to this scheme as they fear that the clean air and water they have had all these years would be destroyed forever. As a councillor I can only stand steadfast with my people,” said G. Vinod, Kattayikonam ward councillor.

People keeping vigil

At Vellar, near Kovalam, an action council was formed many months ago. The local councillor, Nedumom Mohanan, told The Hindu on Thursday that local people were keeping vigil to counter any surprise move by the government or by the district administration.

“Even the other day the people stopped a team of officials from reaching the quarry. Many months ago we gave a petition to the government pointing out that the area where the quarry is located is thickly populated, that the local people are critically dependent on the water from the quarry and that any garbage dump in the area would sound the death knell for tourism in Kovalam,” Mr. Mohanan pointed out.

‘No going back’

Asked about possible political pressure that might be on him, Mr. Mohanan pointed out that the situation was such that even if any councillor went back on his opposition to the scheme, the local people would never budge. “Not that I am anything but resolute on this issue, but as far as the people are concerned, there is no going back.”

Minister for Urban Affairs Manjalamkuzhi Ali told The Hindu here on Thursday that Monday’s all-party meeting was to gauge the stand of everyone on the issue. In response to a query, he said the Suchitwa Mission had been tasked with identifying quarries suitable for depositing garbage.