Muttathara residents seek drainage connections to plant

The Muttathara Sewage Treatment Plant, scheduled to begin trial operations on Monday and to be commissioned on June 30, is likely to run into trouble as residents of Muttathara have threatened not to allow the launch unless they were given drainage connections to the plant.

The residents, under the umbrella of the Residents’ Associations of Muttathara Ward Coordination Committee, said though the government had announced a drainage project, they would not allow the plant to be commissioned before the completion of the project that would connect their houses to the plant.

“We cannot allow a sewage treatment plant in our area to which we have no connection,” coordination committee treasurer A.P. Sasi told The Hindu.

He said the absence of drainage in the Muttathara area was a long-pending issue.

Drainage project

The drainage project for the residents of the area was announced on June 9 after a prolonged agitation for over five years. Even after the declaration, there had been no signs of any work. Officials maintained that the tender process was still on, he said, expressing doubts whether the declaration itself was a mere eyewash.

The residents said the demand for a drainage connection to the sewage treatment plant could not be ignored. For the last several decades, the sewage farm there had been the culmination point of sewage from all across the city.

Sewage water from the farm flowed into the Parvathy Puthanar, making life miserable for hundreds of families living on the banks of the river.

With authorities ignoring this, about 20 residents’ associations had joined hands and on June 16, 2008, petitioned the government.

This resulted in the announcement of a drainage project under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission for areas from Chakka to Muttathara and Thiruvallam.

Residents’ agitation

The project did not materialise. A year later, the associations again launched an agitation. Three years, several discussions and petitions later, a Government Order was issued on January 1, 2012.

This too remained on paper. In February this year, with the coordination committee meeting the Chief Minister, another round of talks were held and it was finally decided to issue tenders within two months.

Minister for Health V.S. Sivakumar made the official announcement of the drainage project on June 9, but with little details on when the work would start or details of the project, Mr. Sasi said.

The latest information, he said, was that the work tender, reportedly awarded to a Goa-based firm, was awaiting Central approval.

“With the process still moving at a snail’s pace, we have decided to stick to our decision not to allow commissioning of the sewage plant until we are given drainage connection to the plant,” he said on Monday.

Kerala Water Authority Managing Director Ashok Kumar Singh, meanwhile, said the commissioning was officially scheduled to be held on June 30.