An attempt to discreetly dump human refuse, brought from Kerala, on the Tamil Nadu border near Walayar was foiled by the Coimbatore district police on Saturday evening.
After being alerted by local residents, including the husband of a civic body chief about the illegal activity, police arrested two persons hailing from Tamil Nadu, including the owner of a sewage tanker lorry in connection with the incident.
According to police, at around 5 pm on Saturday, local residents had informed M Thangaraj from Alamara Road in Navakarai, who is the husband of the Mavuthampathy panchayat president, Sasikala, that they spotted a lorry disposing human waste near ACC Pirivu at Walayar.
When he questioned the lorry driver, the latter allegedly abused Thangaraj and threatened him of dire consequences.
Following this, Thangaraj went ahead to lodge a complaint with the KG Chavadi police, who secured the driver of the lorry, K Veeramuthu (45) hailing from Harijana Colony, Vadakkipalayam in Pollachi, along with the owner of the lorry P Thirumurugan (44) from Kamarajar Nagar, Ramanathapuram.
During investigation, police found that Veeramuthu had brought the sewage load from a house in Kerala and was attempting to dump it on the Tamil Nadu border.
Based on Thangaraj’s complaint police arrested Veeramuthu and Thirumurugan under Sections 270, 294(b) and 506(i) Indian Penal Code and remanded them at the Coimbatore Central Prison.
Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) youth wing secretary V Eswaran, who has been campaigning against the dumping of waste from Kerala here, said, the lorry driver had initially attempted to mislead the police by showing a letter purportedly issued by the Coimbatore Corporation to collect and transport human waste within the district.
“Officials should conduct an enquiry to ascertain whether the letter issued by the Corporation letter was misused in earlier instances to dump waste from Kerala. They should also check whether waste from other States have been dumped in the Corporation’s dump yard at Vellalore, misusing the authorisation letter given to lorry owners to transport waste within the city limit,” Eswaran said.
He also urged that in such authorisation letters to be issued in the future, the Coimbatore Corporation and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) should mention the places from where the sewage tanker operators are allowed to collect waste.
A few months ago, following similar attempts by Kerala, to dump its medical waste, poultry waste and garbage in Coimbatore and neighbouring districts, the then State Environment Minister B V Ramana directed the TNPCB to take up the issue with its counterpart in Kerala.
The officials had also decided to heighten vigil along the State’s borders and check posts to prevent vehicles carrying garbage from entering Tamil Nadu.