The Opposition of the Kochi Corporation on Monday staged a walkout from the Council meeting in protest against the decision by the government to launch a commercial project at the Brahmapuram Solid Waste Treatment Plant area.
Earlier, the government authorities had mooted a commercial project at Brahmapuram, along with a new plant.
Raising the issue at the Council meeting, Opposition councillor M Anilkumar said that it was not a fair move to lease out the land of the Corporation to private parties for such a venture.
It was during the tenure of the previous government that 104 acres of land was transferred to the Corporation. With the existing plant at Brahmapuram becoming defunct, the present Council proposed a new plant on 10 acres of land. The present UDF Government, which approved the new plant, also suggested a commercial project in the 40 acres of land at Brahmapuram in its annual Budget.
“The civic body should look into the possibilities of creating a green belt or eco-friendly projects at the plant site instead of going behind commercial projects which will not go hand in hand with a solid waste treatment plant. But surrendering land to corporates without the consent of the Council is a suicidal act,” alleged Opposition councillor K J Jacob.
He said the ministers are making statements regarding the commercial ventures on their own accord and the Council as well as Opposition are not being considered in the decision-making process.
Meanwhile, Mayor Tony Chammany has said the allegations raised by the opposition are baseless. “It was as per the request of the Council that the state government had decided to entrust the Shuchitwa Mission with the construction of a new plant at Brahmapuram on a public-private-participation mode.
But in order to win the confidence of the local bodies as well as locals of the Brahmapuram area, the government also proposed an industrial unit at Brahmapuram,” Chammany said. The Mayor said that such a commercial unit, which will be beneficial to the people residing in the area, will help reduce local protests.
“The people, usually, are concerned about a solid waste treatment plant being set up in their area owing to the bad situations they have faced in the past. We do not have a successful story in the case of managing waste treatment plants. So gaining the public confidence is important and the move to start a commercial venture along with the plant will help the government going ahead with its plan to construct the plant,” Chammany explained.
However, the opposition councillors said that they would not co-operate with the decision and staged a walkout. “We will go ahead with strong protest measures in the coming days,” Jacob said.