Minister for Rural Development K. C. Joseph on Friday called upon the action councils spear-heading protests against waste-disposal facilities in Kannur and Thalassery municipalities to withdraw from their agitations. The Chief Minister Oommen Chandy would hold discussions with them to settle the issue on January 27, he added.

The Minister said in an official release that police protection was provided for the transport of waste to disposal sites on the basis of the decision at an all-party meeting, considering the health problems that had arisen following piling up of waste in the municipalities. It was not a decision taken by the Minister, local Member of Parliament and the Member of the Assembly. The all party meeting held on January 17 was attended by leaders of various political parties. Some reporters from the media were also present.

Mr. Joseph added that representatives of all political parties and members of the Assembly had been invited to the all-party meeting. Some members had communicated their inconvenience to attend the meeting.

He said that several rounds of talks with the action councils had not yielded results. The government wished to settle the matter amicably and was willing to hold discussions with anyone. He hoped that the action councils would adopt a realistic approach for resolving the issue.