Deputy Speaker N. Sakthan has said that the State government did not intend to reopen the Vilappilsala solid waste treatment plant. Addressing a public convention organised by the Vilappil grama panchayat at Vilappilsala on Wednesday, Mr. Sakthan said that the government had already initiated steps to set up decentralised solid waste treatment plants in the district.

“This plant, for some people, is like the goose that lays golden eggs. That is why the Thiruvananthapuram city Corporation is against closing down this plant. But the State government does not want to bring any more garbage to Vilappilsala,” he said.

Mr. Sakthan said that in a meeting of MLAs from the district convened by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy recently, it was decided to set up decentralised waste treatment plants in each Assembly constituency. “This is the best solution to solve the issue of waste management. But some people are politicising this issue and trying to sabotage all efforts made by the State government,” he said. Hundreds of people, mostly women, from Vilappil and nearby panchayats attended the convention held at Vilappilsala Sreekanta Sastha Temple ground. However, the Vilappilsala Janakeeya Samithi activists were conspicuous by their absence.

A. Sampath, MP; Bharatiya Janata Party national executive committee member P.K. Krishnadas; Vilappil panchayat president S. Shobhana Kumari; vice-president W.S. Vinod Raj; and panchayat members attended the all-party public convention.

Mr. Sampath said that the pollution caused by the untreated leachate flowing out of the Vilappilsala plant was not an issue affecting the people of Vilappil alone, but it affects the people of the city as well. “The leachate coming out from the plant pollutes not only its adjoining areas but also water bodies which are the drinking water source for the people of the city. Pollution of water bodies is a major issue in the whole State today and Vilappilsala is no different,” he said.

Mr. Krishnadas said that there was no other solution for the Vilappilsala plant issue other than complete closure of the plant.

Ms. Shobhana Kumari said that the agitation against the plant had reached a crucial stage. “We should continue with this struggle united. We only want the government to fulfil its promise of closing down this plant permanently,” she said.