COIMBATORE: Residents of Kurichi and Vellalore, 10 km south of the city, plan yet another effort at moving the Government to have the Coimbatore Corporation's compost yard shifted from its sewage farm along Chettipalayam Road.
This time, they want to meet the Local Administration Minister, M.K. Stalin, and appeal for the shifting of the yard.
"The fly menace has worsened," says the secretary of the Kurichi-Vellalore Pollution Prevention Action Committee, K.S. Mohan. "We suspect that the Corporation does not spray disinfectant on the dumps as promised," he alleges.
The committee is of the opinion that another forceful attempt at meeting a Minister at Chennai is necessary though previous ones had not brought the desired solution.
The Mayor in-charge, K. Raghupathy, visited the yard recently and spoke to some of the affected residents. Mr. Mohan says that Mr. Raghupathy had lent a sympathetic ear to the residents but admitted that the shifting of the yard to a quarry in disuse at Madukkarai required clearance from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB).
It is said that the disposal of waste at the zonal level (in the four zones of the Corporation) had also been suggested when he met the residents. But, Mr. Raghupathy may face opposition from the councillors if waste were to be disposed off within the city.
Politically, this issue looks far more complicated than before. The Coimbatore MP, K. Subbarayan, who belongs to the Communist Party of India (CPI), had led a road blockade demanding the shifting of the yard when a member of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) had been the Mayor.
Support for the MP had come from the Kurichi Municipal Chairman, N. Prabhakaran, of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. The Vellalore Panchayat, too, had passed a resolution demanding the shifting of the yard.
The then Mayor, T. Malaravan, sought to remind the MP that the people of the city too had voted for him and that he would only incur their wrath if he demanded that the waste yard be shifted to the Corporation limits.
The DMK and Left parties had demanded a solution at the Corporation Council meetings when Mr. Malaravan was the Mayor. But, with a member of their ally, Congress, as the Mayor in-charge now, a fresh approach to the issue will have to be based on consensus and not through aggressive posturings, sources in the Corporation point out.
The committee secretary says Mr. Prabhakaran and the Coimbatore East MLA, Pongalur N. Palanisamy, had been approached to get an appointment with the Minister.
It claims that both have promised to do so. But, with the Corporation already stating that there is no space in the city where it can store and covert such a huge amount (500-odd tonnes a day) of waste into manure, the shifting will be a tough task.
The DMK and its allies in the Corporation face no electoral risk if the yard is not shifted as no voter in the city is affected. But they face the wrath of the public in the Kurichi Municipality and Vellalore Panchayat. And, local body elections are not very far away. But, there is very little time on hand to find a solution by then.