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Kuthambakkam residents oppose compost yard plan

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Residents of Kuthambakkam and neighbouring villages staging a protest on Wednesday against a compost yard in their area.
Residents of Kuthambakkam and neighbouring villages staging a protest on Wednesday against a compost yard in their area.

Staff Reporter

Say it will not only pollute environment but also affect 5,000 families

CHENNAI: Residents of various villages around Kuthambakkam, near Poonamallee, on Wednesday staged a demonstration against the proposal to set up compost yard, meant to handle waste generated in five local bodies, in Kuthambakkam.

Apart from those of Kuthambakkam, residents of neighbouring villages, including Chembarambakkam and Pazhanjur, participated in the protest, carrying placards and raising slogans against the project.

According to the proposal, the local bodies of Ambattur, Maduravoyal, Valasaravakkam, Poonamallee and Thiruverkadu would be sharing the compost yard.

The villagers complained that the move would not only pollute the environment but also affect the livelihood of over 5,000 families in the surrounding areas. They said the earmarked site is lush green with eucalyptus trees and served as a grazing land for cattle of six villages.

Former Kuthambakkam panchayat president R.Elango, who is spearheading the agitation, said the proposal was being implemented without the consent of the village panchayats. Moreover, the earmarked site is a catchment area of the Chembarambakkam lake, which supplied drinking water to the city.

TNPCB view

Citing Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board’s reply to an application made under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, he said the members of the Board’s municipal solid waste management monitoring team had noted that the site may not be suitable for establishing such a facility, as it is surrounded by industrial units, villages and drinking water sources.

Quoting from the TNPCB reply, Mr. Elango said habitations such as Parvatharajapuram, Samathuvapuram and Kuthambakkam, were located as close as 250 metres from the site of the proposed compost yard. Rainwater runoff from the surrounding areas flowed into the Chembarambakkam lake.

Though ‘no objection’ certificates had been given to two of the five local bodies, the TNPCB has said that the NOC may be used only for acquiring land meant for the project. But, the certificates should not construed as authorisation of the board, he added.

The Kuthambakkam panchayat plans to set up a dairy farm and a bio-gas production plant at the site that would benefit 200 families.

Chembarambakkam panchayat president B. Vincent said the villages were being supplied with drinking water through borewells. If the scheme was implemented, groundwater would be contaminated. “We have been fighting against the proposal for the past two years and will also go for a legal solution,” he said.

Residents said the local bodies must manage the garbage problems in their areas instead of dumping it in other places.

They threatened to launch an indefinite strike if the proposal is not withdrawn in two weeks.

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