The birth and ‘precocious growth’ of a dump in Kelambakkam

Residents of a 104-unit gated community want a newly-sprung garbage dumping point on the Kelambakkam-Covelong Link Road dispensed with. They argue that besides posing a direct threat to their well-being, the cattle-infested dump also raises the spectre of accidents on that thoroughfare with fast-moving vehicular traffic

March 21, 2024 11:36 am | Updated 11:40 am IST

Some of the Residents of the gated community Blessings in front of the garbage dump on Kelambakkam-Covelong Link Road, on March 20, 2024. Their apartment is in the background.

Some of the Residents of the gated community Blessings in front of the garbage dump on Kelambakkam-Covelong Link Road, on March 20, 2024. Their apartment is in the background. | Photo Credit: PRINCE FREDERICK

In the brackish waters off the Kelambakkam-Kovalam Link Road, ICAR-CIBA runs experimental aquaculture farms, growing shrimps in some of them. In controlled and favourable conditions of this kind, shrimps reproduce prodigiously and quickly, enhancing their presence. Further down that road, there might be competition for those shrimps in the very area of “expansion”. And this competition comes from an unlikely quarter: a garbage dump rivals the growth rate of those shrimps, its presence increasingly felt by the day.

Residents of Blessings, a 104-unit gated community in Kelambakkam, have a ringside view of this garbage dump, as it is located diametrically opposite their apartment on Kelambakkam-Covelong Link Road. They are alarmed by its increasing spread. Only around six weeks old, it has reached remarkable dimensions and is staring passersby in the face. Unlike passersby who experience a momentary pungency, residents of the gated community have to live with frequent olfactory assaults, not to mention other irritants and issues resulting from the offensive mass.

This dump on Kelambakkam-Covelong Link Road attracts stray cattle and packs of dogs.

This dump on Kelambakkam-Covelong Link Road attracts stray cattle and packs of dogs. | Photo Credit: PRINCE FREDERICK

Satheesh Kumar, a resident of the apartment, recalls the dump happened suddenly when it was shifted from another spot on the road, some 200 metres away. “And its surface area has increased rapidly,” he adds. M. Sultan, a resident of the apartment who also functions as its manager and is a key office-bearer of the executive committee of its Association (Citilights Blessings Apartment Owners Association), discloses that they have sent petitions to the CM’s cell, Chengalpet Collector and the Kelambakkam panchayat about this problem, but the solution still proves elusive.

Sultan elaborates: “The fact that the Kelambakkam panchayat uses it as a dumping point emboldens others to offload a variety of discards there. It functions as a garbage transit point. Every week, two truckloads of garbage are cleared, but what comes into the dump is many times higher than what leaves it. And the ludicrous situation of the conservancy workers collecting garbage from our apartment only to offload it in that dump adds salt in the wound.”

Saunters in the open spaces around the community are not the same  anymore. R. Geetha, an executive committee member of the Association, has asthma, and as pungent odours can worsen an asthma condition, a distressing thought weighs heavily on her mind whenever she walks in the open spaces of the community and the stench from the dump wafts in.

The problem encompasses road users, showing up in two forms, stray cattle and dogs.

K. Nathan, a resident, draws attention to an accident involving a bovine predating the arrival of a dump. “A buffalo scuttled across the road and was killed when a vehicle crashed into it. The garbage dump attracts  bovines and their movement can cause accidents. This road is known for fast-moving vehicular traffic.”

K. Karthikeyan, a key member of the Association’s executive committee, points out packs of dogs rummage around in the garbage and their presence is unsettling.

These residents want the dump out of the road, and moved to a place where it would be safe to operate one.

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