Surveillance and security measures stepped up at the garbage dump

Surveillance and security measures are being stepped up at the Ariyamangalam garbage dump following suspicions that the spate of recent wild fires could be the handiwork of saboteurs.

Installation of surveillance cameras, appointment of more watch and ward staff, including ex-service personnel, and raising the height of the compound wall around the garbage dump are some of the measures planned, Commissioner V.P.Thandapani informed the corporation council on Tuesday. He was responding to concerns expressed by a section of councillors over the frequent fires at the garbage dump during an urgent meeting of the council chaired by Mayor A..Jaya.

The Commissioner also disclosed that the civic officials will hold a meeting with residents of Ariyamangalam area on August 3 to give a briefing on the measures taken by the civic body to prevent fires and improve the disposal of solid wastes at the dump.

“It looks like sabotage, given the magnitude of the latest fire and the frequency of the fires in recent months,” said J.Srinivasan of the AIADMK. Although occasional wild fires had been reported at the dump over the past several years, they were largely minor ones.

M.Anbazhagan, DMK, observed that the latest fire was of unprecedented magnitude and demanded firm steps to put an end to such incidents.

He wondered whether the Health Wing has taken steps to alleviate the impact of the smoke on the health of people living around the dump. Ms.Jaya responded saying that five special medical camps were conducted to offer treatment to the people living around.

T.Muthuselvam of the DMK opposed the Corporation’s move to dump garbage at Panchapur even on a temporary basis as the site was close to the National Highway with educational institutions around. Besides, the civic body had also proposed to set up a theme park at Panchapur, he contended.

Mr.Srinivasan, however, pointed out a large number of residents were living around the dump at Ariyamangalam whereas not many households were in the immediate vicinity of the sewage farm at Panchapur.

Mr.Thandapani, in his reply, conceded that there was reason to suspect sabotage prompting the civic body to step up security. The Corporation was taking steps to dispose the accumulated garbage at Ariyamangalam by going in for bio-capping.

It will also set up a second bio-manure manufacturing unit at Panchapur with requisite clearance from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board.

But these projects will take some time to fructify. Meanwhile, garbage was being dumped at Panchapur only as temporary measure, he reiterated.

Later, responding to a query from Kavitha Selvam (DMK), he said that the underground drainage network will be extended for a length of about 890 km in the uncovered areas of the city in a phased manner. City Engineer R.Chandran said while the first phase of the project has already been sanctioned for Srirangam, the detailed project report for the second phase was under preparation. Sewer lines will be laid for a distance of about 275 km at a cost of Rs.422 crore.

Mr.Thandapani, in response to a question from Mr.Anbazhagan, said detailed proposals on various development projects for the city have been forwarded to the Centre through the State government as the city is expected to be included under the second phase of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.