The standoff between the Kozhikode Corporation and the local people of Avikkal Thodu over the upcoming Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) in the locality may not end soon. While the local people are determined to step up their protest against the plant, the Corporation has no other alternative than to defy them and go ahead with the project.
“There is no scope for more talks with people when they are not ready to listen. The protest committee has sabotaged our every attempt to reach out to the common people there. Now, we are trying to convince them using a one-on-one approach,” Mayor Beena Philip told The Hindu.
“Since it is their land and a lack of maintenance would affect them, local people will be more dedicated to its upkeep”Beena PhilipMayor
The Mayor reiterated that the technology being used for the two STPs at Avikkal Thodu and Kothi was foolproof and would not cause any difficulties to the local people. There is a maintenance contract for the first five years with the company that constructs the plant, after which the Corporation plans to train local people to maintain it. “Since it is their land and a lack of maintenance would affect them, local people will be more dedicated to its upkeep,” the Mayor said.
The Mayor also brushed aside the claim that it was not easy to set up pipeline network through the thickly populated area. “We can manage the pipelines somehow through whatever space is available between houses. If it is possible in the Mumbai slums, it can be done here too,” she added.
The Corporation has set aside ₹6.25 crore to clean the Avikkal Canal which is heavily polluted due to the opening of several sewage pipelines into it from houses in the locality. However, the cleaning will be done only after the STP becomes functional.
The Mayor said she started advocating for the STP only after she was convinced of its efficacy after visiting several successful ones in the city and in Thiruvananthapuram. “We have a successful STP project at the medical college. Initially, the people there were against it. But now they are asking for more after experiencing its benefits. The Corporation is building two more STPs there,” she said, claiming that the situation was similar in Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram cities where people are asking for more such projects.
The completion of the two STPs at Avikkal Thodu and Kothi would define the future developmental projects in the city under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT). The Corporation may not get more funds if it do not succeed in spending the already allotted funds. “When people ask for more STPs, we may not have the funds for them,” the Mayor said.
Meanwhile, the civic body has already made plans to construct a 27-mld centralised STP at Karimpanapalam, near Sarovaram Biopark, in the next phase of AMRUT, which would cater for a large area on the eastern side of the city.