Samara samithi activists vow to block garbage trucks to Vilappil

Sending out an emphatic message to the State government that they would not allow any more garbage trucks from the capital city to reach Vilappilsala, hundreds of activists of the Vilappil Janakeeya Samithi took out a march to the Secretariat on Monday.

The arterial M.G. Road in front of the Secretariat was chock-a-block with slogan-shouting protesters who blocked the movement of vehicles for more than an hour. Much of their ire was directed against the city Corporation.

A short while after the ‘dharna' in front of the Secretariat began, a four-member delegation of the Samithi was allowed to meet Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in his office. After the meeting, the Samithi representatives told mediapersons that the people of Vilappil had decided not to allow entry to even a single garbage-laden truck from the capital city.

The “final decision” of the people has been conveyed to the government. “From what we understood from the Chief Minister's words, the government it seems has decided not to reopen the treatment plant at Vilappil,” Samithi president Burhan said.

Asked what the local people at Vilappil would do if the government complied with the High Court verdict and gave police protection to garbage trucks plying to the plant, Mr. Burhan replied that the people would block such trucks. The people have great regard for the Court and for the police, but they will not go back on this decision, he added.

Mr. Chandy later told The Hindu that he had not given any assurance to the Samithi leaders that the government would not reopen the treatment plant at Vilappil. “When the High Court has said something, how can I say otherwise. What I told them was that the government completely understood and empathised with their problems. I also pointed out to them that had they shown a bit more of flexibility on this issue, the government would have been able to speedily bring the present crisis to an end,” he said.

In earlier talks with the Samithi representatives, the government had pleaded for a temporary reopening of the treatment plant to allow for the processing of a limited quantity of waste from the capital city.