Hunger strike on Monday seeking solution to garbage issue

With the authorities failing to find a solution to remove the rising piles of stinking garbage across the capital city, public ire will take the form of a formal protest, the beginning of many to come, as the Federation of Residents' Associations Thiruvananthapuram (FRAT) stages a public protest and hunger strike from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in front of the Palayam Martyr's Square on Monday.

FRAT office-bearers said that they would intensify the protest if their demands, which include an immediate solution from the State government and the City Corporation to the garbage issue and declaration of the State capital as a ‘sanitised' district, were not met. They pointed out that it was a blot on the democratic setup itself when authorities could not do anything on the issue despite court orders supporting positive action.

FRAT general secretary Paraniyam Devakumar and president Vennikulam George Varghese said it was high time that the government and Corporation set aside political differences and came up with a solution to the garbage issue that was plaguing the State capital, and the controversy surrounding the Vilappilsala waste treatment plant for quite some time now.

Open letters

FRAT has sent open letters to the Chief Minister and the Mayor, pointing out that while the federation was ready to cooperate and do whatever it could to help with household collection of segregated waste, the government and the Corporation too would have to initiate urgent steps, including setting up of decentralised treatment plants in all 100 wards in the Corporation.

To alleviate the fears of the public over the consequences of having waste treatment plants in their vicinity, the authorities should have set examples by establishing modern treatment plants in available public places such as the Secretariat premises, the Corporation, Assembly complex, Civil Station or the Poojappura Jail compound, with the capacity of the plant to be determined by the space available, the federation said.

Gandhian P. Gopinathan Nair would inaugurate the protest on Monday, with invitations being sent to all public representatives, Ministers and cultural leaders to participate. “We have invited both MPs—A. Sampath and Shashi Tharoor—from the district, all the 13 MLAs from here, leaders of political parties that do not have representation in the Assembly, social and cultural leaders and representatives of all religions to participate in the protest and to voice their views,” Mr. Devakumar said.

A CD detailing the functioning of a model waste treatment plant set up in Palakkad by the Indian Medical Association will be screened.