Directive to Vilappil grama panchayat to allow waste disposal

The Kerala Lokayukta, on Friday, directed the Vilappil grama panchayat to reopen the Vilappilsala solid waste treatment plant and allow entry of garbage vehicles into the plant until an alternative arrangement for garbage disposal is made in the city.

The order was issued on the basis of a complaint filed by two city-based lawyers Yesudasan Varghese and Anayara G. Rajendran against the closure of the waste treatment plant.

Lokayukta M.M. Pareed Pillay and Upa Lokayukta G. Sasidharan said in the order that the abrupt closure of the garbage treatment plant was causing health hazards and posing the threat of outbreak of diseases in the city.

“Admittedly, the garbage treatment plant was functioning at Vilappilsala for the last 11 years. Abruptly, a decision was taken by the first respondent panchayat for stopping the functioning of the garbage treatment plant at Vilappilsala. We are told that the government and the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation are trying to find out a suitable place for installing the garbage treatment plant and that will materialise shortly,” the order said. “In the light of the above facts, it is highly necessary that the garbage treatment plant at Vilappilsala has to function till an alternative arrangement is made for the disposal of garbage,” the order said.

Responding to the development, Vilappil panchayat president Shobhana Kumari said the Lokayukta's order to reopen the plant was unfortunate.

“The Lokayukta has issued this order without considering the sentiments of the people of Vilappilsala and the issues they face because of the functioning of this plant. The complainants have misled the judges by making wrong accusations against us. We have filed a review petition on the order,” Ms. Shobhana Kumari said.

The Vilappilsala solid waste treatment plant was closed down by the Vilappil panchayat on December 21 following a mass agitation against the plant. Since then, the municipal garbage collection and disposal system in the city has been at a standstill.

A case on the closure of the plant is also pending in the High Court.