Action not taken beyond assurances, initiating studies

Notwithstanding its oft-repeated assurances, the Tiruchirapalli City Corporation has not been able to find a permanent solution to end the frequent wildfires at the Ariyamangalam garbage dump.

The civic body had put in place temporary measures such as installing watch towers, deployment of more men and building roads around the garbage dump to facilitate better vigil and easy movement of fire-fighting vehicles. Even a water tanker was stationed permanently at the site. But these measures were not adequate to prevent the fire on Sunday.

Corporation sources said the civic staff, who tried to put out the fire initially, could not contain it and it spread rapidly fanned by the strong wind. Clearly, the measures seem to be inadequate.

Faced with heavy pollution from the reeking garbage, people living in and around the dump had been campaigning for getting it shifted.

But the corporation sources have been contending it would be impossible to transport the garbage from the dump. There have also been problems in identifying alternative dumping areas.

An expert committee was constituted following successive fires at the dump last year. The committee had given a report to the corporation and commissioner V.P. Thandapani had assured the council last year that steps were under way to implement a slew of measures, including a plan to create a park after bio-capping of the accumulated garbage on about 20 acres at the yard. There was a plan to set up an additional bio-composting unit to process the accumulated garbage.

But the plans are yet to take off. “We are tired of staging protests and fasts. The corporation has been holding out tall promises and buying time. But nothing has been done to find a permanent solution to the vexed problem,” says S.P. Saravanan, a former councillor of the area.

When contacted, a senior officer of the corporation said detailed project estimates have been readied for the bio-capping project and efforts were on to implement the same at the earliest.