Even as the resumed garbage disposal works of the Kannur municipality has continued for the second day under heavy police protection amidst protests by local residents against the waste dump at Chelora in the nearby Chelora panchayat, the all-party consensus backing resumption of the stalled waste dumping activities of both the United Democratic Front-ruled Kannur municipality and the Left Democratic Front-ruled Thalassery municipality hits a hiccup, with the Communist Party of India (Marxist) here expressing reservations about use of police force to break the protests.
The waste disposal works of the Kannur municipality, disrupted since December 26 last following the agitation by the local residents against the dump, resumed on January 19 after the all-party meeting convened by Rural Development Minister K.C. Joseph here a few days ago forged a consensus among the mainstream political parties in support of the proposal for re-starting the garbage removal of the Kannur and Thalassery municipalities in the dumps at Chelora and Pettippalam respectively with police protection following his assurance that the government would introduce a scientific waste disposal technology in six months.
As the protestors continued their protest at Chelora on Friday, the police arrested and removed 50-odd protestors outside the dump at Chelora to allow the garbage-laden vehicles to unload the waste. The Thalassery municipality has not resumed its waste disposal at Pettippalam.
The all-party agreement on resuming the garbage removal now faces hitches as the CPI(M) has sounded out its objection to the use of the police force to remove the protestors for resuming the garbage disposal at Chelora. Party leader M.V. Jayarajan spoke to the Minister on Friday over the phone to inform that the party did not favour the removal of the protestors by using police force. Some party leaders also visited Chelora to express solidarity with the protestors on Friday.
When contacted Mr. Jayarajan said that the CPI(M) intervened in the issue as the party could not accept the police using force to arrest the protestors. He said he spoke to the Chief Minister and the Minister to express the party’s reservations about the high-handed way the police were acting against the protestors.
He said he also contacted the action committee leaders and flayed their repeated abstention from all meetings to break the impasse. The action committee leaders then assured him that they would attend the next meeting if it is convened by the Minister himself, he said.
Confirming this, the Minister told The Hindu over the phone that a meeting of local MPs, MLAs and, municipal chairpersons of Kannur and Thalassery, panchayat presidents of Chelora and New Mahe and representatives of the action councils would be convened here at 12 noon on January 27 in the presence of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy who would be visiting the district that day. He also said that the action councils should call off the protest and allow the resumed garbage disposal till January 27. Mr. Joseph said that the government was seriously considering the adoption of the waste treatment system based on German technology.
The municipal authorities here said that the only a small portion of the accumulated garbage in the Kannur town had been removed during the two days. They said that they would continue the resumed garbage dumping works in the coming days as well till a decision was taken at the meeting convened on January 27.