‘It can affect water table of water-strapped Vellar'

Even as a reluctant City Corporation tries to take forward the State government proposal to construct a sanitary landfill at an abandoned quarry at Vellar, Costford — the agency that was assigned to take up the project — has informed the local body that the project may not be feasible.

A team from Costford, which recently visited the site, found that converting the quarry into a garbage landfill would not be viable as it could affect the water table of the water- strapped locality. The stiff resistance that the team met with from local residents was another reason that led Costford to veto the proposal.

“It is a water-filled quarry and pumping out water from it and converting it into a garbage landfill will lead to some environmental issues. Besides, we found that the opposition by local residents was for genuine reasons. The quarry is a source of water for the local people of this area where there is severe water shortage. Many people depend on this quarry for cleaning and bathing purposes. In this scenario, we found that it is not feasible to covert the quarry into a landfill,” Costford joint director P.B. Sajan said.

The Corporation was sanctioned around Rs.1.08 crore by the Suchitwa Mission to construct a sanitary landfill at the quarry as a temporary solution to the waste disposal crisis in the city. However, Mayor K. Chandrika had made it clear that the Corporation was least interested in pursuing such an ‘unscientific' project.

On Tuesday, she reiterated the stand, citing that although the Corporation's engineering wing was asked by the government to take up the project, the political leadership of the Corporation did not favour it.

“The Corporation has, from the beginning, made it clear that it is not interested in pursuing this project. As per the expert advice we received, this is an unscientific proposal that can have major environmental implications,” she said.

“I don't understand why the government and the Suchitwa Mission are forcing this unscientific proposal on us even after we secured a favourable order from the Supreme Court regarding the reopening of the Vilappilsala solid-waste treatment plant. Instead of facilitating the reopening of the plant, the government is asking us to take up such unviable projects,” Ms. Chandrika said.

The Mayor added that she had submitted a letter to Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan on Tuesday seeking police protection in reopening the Vilappilsala plant in the light of the Supreme Court order.

Meanwhile, representatives of Kovalam Samudra Vattapara Samrakshana Samithi on Tuesday submitted a memorandum to Urbain Affairs Minister Manjalamkuli Ali seeking withdrawal of the project. Samithi chairman and Vellar ward councillor Nedumam V. Mohanan said the State government should not pursue such a project in the face of stiff opposition from the local residents.

“We have taken up this issue as a campaign because people of this locality depend heavily on this quarry for water. Apart from the environmental reasons, it is also not viable to have such a waste processing plant here as it is a tourism area. We have conveyed all this to the Minister who has assured us that he would present our concerns at the next Cabinet meeting where a final decision on the project would be taken,” Mr. Mohanan said.