CHENNAI: Mountains of unsegregated waste, contaminated soil, air and groundwater; unbearable smell, presence of toxic gases and debris that catch fire — the Kodungaiyur dump yard has been nothing but a hazard for residents of the neighbourhood. Despite decades of cries and call for action to shift the landfill, no effective steps have been taken by the civic body.
A silver lining for north Chennai’s residents was the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s by-election manifesto that mentioned shifting of the dump yard if the party won seats in the elections.
Recent developments point that the Kodungaiyur dump yard woes are likely to continue, as the DMK party won the Perambur Assembly constituency seat in the bypoll, but didn’t have the needed numbers to form a government.
Speaking to Express RD Sekar, MLA, Perambur constituency said, “We had said, we would shift the dump yard if we won, but now, as an MLA I can only raise the issue with the bureaucrats. I will raise this issue in the upcoming Assembly session. I will take every initiative to shift it and if needed, I will gather people and fight for it.”
However, the residents are not happy about the perennial dump yard menace. “The promise of shifting the dump yard was one of the main reasons people elected the DMK candidate. So, the MLA should take all possible steps to shift it. He should even raise the issue with the chief minister,” said ED Elango, coordinator of North Chennai Residents Welfare Movements Federation.
PV Anand, secretary, West Kaviyarasu Kannadasan Nagar Residents’ Welfare Association said, “Residents here are forced to inhale polluted air. All kinds of hazardous wastes are dumped here. Whether it is during the rainy season or hot summer, the problem persists. Regular fires in the dump yard make the life of people here hell.”
NS Ramachandra Rao, president of Ever Vigilant Residents’ Welfare Association — a group that has been fighting for the cause for decades, said, “We have proof that groundwater and air here are polluted. So, the project cannot continue here anymore. We will wait and see if there are any developments. If it gets further delayed, then we will fight it legally.”