THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Vellayani is not anywhere near Vilappil, but it won’t be long before the freshwater source at Vellayani turns into a garbage pit like Vilappil. Sacks of animal waste, neatly wrapped and ready to be dumped into the Vellayani lake, were found resting on its banks on Monday morning, forcing the District Panchayat to spring into action. The panchayat has realised that they might not be this lucky every time and without its knowledge, tonnes of waste could well flow in the water.
Not just Vellayani, every water body in the district is facing the same plight. "It is a danger that has sprouted ever since the Government gave the go-ahead for landfilling abandoned quarries for garbage-dumping. Let aside the illogical idea, but imagine the dangerous outcome. The public have been given the feeling that there is no harm in dumping waste into water bodies which is actually a crime,’’ said Rufus Daniel, District Panchayat vice-president.
It was in January this year, when the garbage issue was its peak, that the Government proposed finding out abandoned quarry lands for garbage disposal.
In Thiruvananthapuram, a quarry near Vellar was identified for garbage dumping. However, following severe protests from locals in the area, the Corporation had taken a soft stand, with the Mayor even going on record that the local body would not go in for projects polluting water bodies.
However, sources said that the first instalment of Rs 12 lakh to undertake the project has already been released to the Corporation. "The Corporation had submitted a detailed proposal for the project, the Suchitwa Mission had given the approval and a total of Rs 1.8 crore was allocated. The initial token of Rs 12.80 lakh has been met with,’’ said an official with the Mission.
"The amount has been given for pumping out the water from the quarry and also for constructing a road,’’ the official said.
The Kovalam Samudra Vattapara Samrakshana Samithi, which was formed to counter the move, still believes that the Corporation has dropped the idea. "We had submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister and to the Minister concerned. They had assured that it would be reconsidered. The Government quarry at Vellar is almost 4 acres, there is still water in a catchment area that is being used by the locals for drinking and other purposes. It will also topple the tourism industry linked to the area,’’ said the Chairman of the Samithi and the councillor from Vellar, Nedumam Mohanan.