An all-party meeting convened by Rural Development Minister K.C. Joseph to take political parties on board to find a solution to the problem of disrupted garbage disposal of the Kannur and Thalassery municipalities has reached a consensus on reviving the waste disposal at the waste dumps of the two municipalities from January 18, even as all leaders of mainstream political parties present at the meeting flayed the district administration and the police for vitiating the situation.

The meeting was held on Tuesday evening to forge a consensus among the mainstream political parties as the action committees spearheading the agitation against the landfills at Chelora and Pettippalam had been abstaining from any talks to find a solution. All political leaders urged the government and the district administration to take necessary step to revive the stalled disposal of waste in the dumps. The waste removal of the Thalassery municipality has been disrupted for the past 70 days following an agitation against the Pettippalam dump. The Kannur municipality's garbage disposal activities have been brought to a standstill since December 26.

Top priority

Winding up the meeting, the Minister said the government was giving top priority to the waste disposal issue in all the municipalities and corporations. The government was now examining the viability of two or three waste disposal technologies and a decision would be taken soon, he said adding that the government required at least six months to implement the project. Funds would not be a problem for implementing the project, he pointed out.

Stating that the government was planning a scientific alternative, Mr. Joseph said that any attempt to convince the action committees of the seriousness of the problem had failed as they were refusing to attend the meetings. The district administration had not taken any stringent action because it was not in favour of creating tension, he said.

Consensus

The consensus at the meeting was that the municipalities would continue the existing method of dumping their wastes at their respective landfills for at least six months till the viable alternative was implemented. Adequate protection had to be given for the municipalities' waste disposal operations. The people of Chelora and Pettippalam should cooperate, he said.

The leaders of political parties who spoke at the meeting said the protests were now being controlled by non-political organisations and extremist groups. K. Sudhakaran, MP, told the meeting that some vested interest groups were behind the agitations. The delay in introducing the treatments plants by the municipalities was due to the absence of any model waste treatment plant, he added. He also took strong exception to the inaction on the part of the police and district administration to find a solution to the problem.

A.P. Abdullakutty, MLA, district panchayat president K.A. Sarala, Kannur municipal chairperson M.C. Sreeja, Thalassery municipal chairperson Amina Maliyekkal, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader M. Prakashan, Congress leaders T.O. Mohanan and Munderi Gangadharan, Indian Union Muslim League leader B.P. Farookh, and Communist Party of India leader Vellora Rajan were present at the meeting.

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