CHENNAI: Despite allegations of discrimination against dalit colonies as solid waste dumpyards are near their homes, the residents themselves don’t seem to be overly concerned about the stench. After a complaint filed with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) by SK Siva, a member of Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front (TNUEF) — the NCSC issued notices to the Chennai Corporation Commissioner and the District Collector and sought an explanation. The complaint list included MSW yards at Dharmapuram near Valluvar Kottam, Saidapet and Ambedkar Paalam at Mylapore amongst others. However when CE spoke to a few residents of Dharmapuram, who live in shanties dotting the compound wall of the facility, their responses were far from upset.
Devi, said that she has lived the entirety of her 50-something life in these shanties. “I was born and raised, got married, had kids and now grandkids, all at this very same place. But the (garbage) compound has been at this place since before my time. I think it used to be a veterinary hospital,” she said.
Employees of Hyderabad-based Ramky Enviro Engineers, who maintain the facility, reiterated the stance by saying that the shanties were “encroachments” that cropped up in the last 20 years, and only members of the Brahmin community resided in the vicinity.
Referring to the issue of notices, an employee on condition of anonymity said that the problem would “die down” soon. “There have been protests in the past, but what they are asking of the Corporation is unreal and impossible. “The government will handle this issue in the way they know best,” he added.
Workers at the Saidapet MSW yard also complained about the place.
“This yard is in the constituency of the mayor himself. There is no way he would let it slide, if there was an actual issue here,” said P Arun, supervisor of the facility, referring to Chennai Mayor Saidai S Duraisamy.
Repeated attempts by City Express to reach the Corporation Commissioner remained unfruitful, while the Collector’s office washed their hands off the issue stating that it was something for the Ripon building officials to look into. While most residents spoke of no grave injustice and violence, a resident Saraal said. “Many people are affected by dengue and certain water borne diseases as well.”