It was exactly a year ago that the Vilappil panchayat officials had padlocked the gates of the solid waste treatment plant at Vilappilsala. But during this one year, neither the state government nor the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation has been able to come up with a solution to the capital city’s garbage woes.
Even though the Kerala High Court issued notice to the state government and the panchayat, and directed the Director General of Police to provide protection for operating the Vilappilsala waste treatment plant, so strong was the resistance of the residents that they did not allow the garbage trucks to enter the plant.
The intervention of the sub-committee of the mediation committee of the Kerala High Court too did not bear fruit. Meanwhile, the waste menace had been looming large and the Corporation transported truck loads of garbage to Kochuveli railway station for platform construction. The next destination was Murukkumpuzha, to where 42 loads of garbage were ferried.
The efforts to transport garbage to Veiloor in Murukkumpuzha were clipped by the Mangalapuram panchayat, and the Parassala grama panchayat resisted the move to take city waste to Parassala. Though 20 quarries were identified for sanitary landfill in Corporation limits by the Urban Affairs Department, the first step itself turned a failure with people raising protest at Chenkottukonam.
Amid the tense situation, the final part of the machinery for the leachate plant was transported to the Vilappilsala plant on the midnight of October 13. Following this, an indefinite hartal, called by the Vilappilsala joint action council, was led by panchayat president S Shobhana Kumari at Vilappil panchayat. She was arrested and taken to the hospital after four days as her health condition deteriorated.
The High Court has now directed to constitute an expert committee to look into installing a leachate plant at Vilappilsala.
Alternatives like pipe-compost and biogas plants came, but still the crisis remains unsolved.