Team accompanied by Corporation and Panchayat officials after the High Court issued a directive to study the feasibility of garbage plant.
A team of experts from the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (PCB) inspected the premises of the Vilappilsala waste treatment plant on Monday following a directive issued by the High Court last week to study its feasibility.
Despite calls to boycott the team’s visit, three members of the PCB, accompanied by health officials from the city Corporation, and a member of the Vilappilsala panchayat, surveyed the factory premises. The team will submit a report to the court on Thursday.
Though the visit was incident-free, the dissenting views of the Vilappilsala Janakeeya Samithi and the Samyukta Samara Samithi came to the fore as the former accused the samara samithi of working in tandem with the Corporation to get the plant opened. Both groups organised sit-ins. The Samara Samithi had given a hartal call. The police were deployed in strength.
Panchayat president Shobana Kumari did not visit the site along with the team as asked by the court. She said she had not received any official intimation and the panchayat had received more information from the media than from the court authorities. “Moreover, we are against this inspection because it is unnecessary. What happened to the environmental studies done last year with advocate K. Meera as the commission to inspect the plant. These previous reports are gathering dust, and this whole charade is pointless,” she said.
The panchayat-led group said they had no intention to block the officials from entering the plant. We just wanted to convey that we are opposed the court’s directive, they said.
The Janakeeya Samithi members said they had no plans to block the PCB team but the officials entered the plant via another route discreetly, the Samithi said. The Samithi will stage a sit-in on Thursday.
The PCB team, comprising Chief Environmental Engineer K.G. Viju and environmental engineers Santhosh Kumar and Thrideep Kumar, examined the state of the sanitary landfills. They also inspected a small waterbody, reportedly contaminated by leachete.
Health inspectors of the Corporation who had been supervising the plant’s activities prior to its closure said agricultural activities envisaged here had been affected as the people were against the entry of any vehicle carrying materials, for construction or other activities. Over three acres of land, of the 48 acres of the Vilappilsala plant area, was under plantain and vegetable cultivation. “We had plans to start a dairy farm to provide employment to workers here. We floated tenders some five months ago and when one finally did get chosen, they were not allowed to enter the factory,” an official said.
The team’s findings should ideally be backed by comparative studies. But, only the prevalent conditions at Vilappilsala would be looked into for now, a PCB official said.