Residents say they have no choice but to litter, as authorities are apathetic

Are you tired of complaining about your garbage not being cleared every day? Take a look at some of the fishing villages, the beaches, open drains and at times even the sea — all of which have become new dumping yards. Villagers say they have no other option but to dump here, as the Chennai Corporation and the local bodies in Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram are indifferent to their problems.

K. Pachai, a resident of Tiruvottiyur's KVK Kuppam said that they dump garbage along the boulders of the sea wall. “At times, women throw garbage into the sea. But it is not a frequent practice. When it comes to fishing hamlets, everything including lighting to sanitation takes a back seat. Repeated complaints to the councillor and Corporation only go unheard,” he said.

At Oorur Kuppam in Besant Nagar, a request to lay sewer lines had led to a delay in the laying of tar roads. “Conservancy staff members do not go to the mud roads that are closer to the sea as they say their tricycles get caught in the mud. Garbage is also dumped in the sand and also in the kuccha channels that carry grey water to the sea. When beach clean-ups happen, we find it very difficult to clean the sands,” said K. Saravanan a resident.

A resident of Doomingkuppam, K. Velan said that since their area was not visible to the outside world, they were being ignored. “The Corporation only takes care of the affluent who know to complain and write letters. We live with the stench and garbage. ,” he said.

A conservancy worker who did not want to be named said: “In fishing hamlets, people tend to sleep late and on the streets. Our door-to-door collection routine is in the morning and we cannot wake them up. Sometimes, fishermen take us to be police informers. There have been instances of conservancy staff and even supervisors being beaten up after the police picked up someone.”

At Light House Kuppam in Pulicat, every bit of open space is used to dump garbage. Dogs, cattle and goats feed on the wastes. “We have only now received money for garbage bins, once they are placed, we will have conservancy staff clearing them regularly,” said Karunakaran, the panchayat president.

In response, Chennai Corporation Commissioner D. Karthikeyan said that a special mass cleaning programme would be conducted soon in these villages. “We will look into the issue of conservancy staff not being able to enter the villages in the morning. We could perhaps have special evening conservancy in these localities,” he said.

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Deepa H. RamakrishnanJune 28, 2012

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