Over 11 acres of Defence Ministry land at Pazhavanthangal lies as an abandoned dumpyard.
For more than three decades now, the ministry’s land maintained by the St. Thomas Mount-cum-Pallavaram Cantonment Board had been used for dumping garbage collected from adjoining residential areas. When the board began to dispose waste in the land, the area hardly housed any residents; but in the last 15 years the population has grown to a large number.
Unable to bear the stench, the residents made several representations to the Corporation and finally, about four months back, the dumping of garbage was stopped. Yet, the long-heaped garbage burns, emits smoke and a stench with seasonal changes.
A resident of Ganesapuram in Pazhavanthangal for 40 years, K. R. Santhanakrishnan said, “Thanks to the efforts of the councillor, the dumping has ended. Now, we are striving to clear the rubbish decaying for years together.”
The land could have better utilitarian value if converted to a park, said president of Ganesapuram Welfare Association, R. Jayaraman. “About one and half years back, a proposal to recycle the garbage was planned but it never took off. But our councillor has promised that it would be removed at the earliest,” he said.
Sources at the Corporation indicate that unavailability of required number of garbage collecting trucks has caused the delay in disposal. V.N.P. Venkatraman, the area councillor and chairman of the 12 zone of Chennai Corporation, said, “As a temporary arrangement we are dumping the garbage elsewhere now. I have already raised the issue with the cantonment board on several occasions. But there is no confirmation from the board regarding the permanent clearance of waste from the land.”
The chief executive officer of the board Prasad Chavan said that the board has had protracted negotiations with Corporation officials in deciding the location for periodic disposal of the waste.
“In the oncoming board meeting, we will discuss the possible solutions and put an end to this issue soon. We are contemplating on ways to periodically remove the rubbish,” he said.
“Earlier, we found two corpses lying in the dumpyard but we were unable to do anything about it. Since we come from a humble background, no one pays heed to our complaints. We had signature campaigns, and officials, including the mayor visited the area but everything remains just the same,” said Raniamma, whose house overlooks the dumpyard.