THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Lokayukta division bench here on Friday ordered the Vilappil grama panchayat to reopen the garbage treatment plant at Vilappilsala, which the panchayat had shut down on December 21 following a fall out with the City Corporation over the garbage issue. The Lokayukta has also ordered to maintain the status quo until further orders.
In the interim order, the Lokayukta asked the grama panchayat to reopen the plant immediately, allow vehicles with garbage into the plant and maintain the status quo before the closure.
The Lokayukta observed that the problem faced by the residents of the city as a result of the decision taken by the panchayat is of great magnitude and can pose severe health hazards. An outbreak of contagious diseases in the city is also feared.
The interim order also pointed out that it is highly necessary that the garbage treatment plant at Vilappilsala has to function till an alternative arrangement is made for the disposal of the city garbage.
The division bench comprising Lokayukta Justice M M Pareed Pillai and Upa Lokayukta Justice G Sasidharan observed that by closing down the garbage treatment plant which was functioning for eleven years, the panchayat had exercised a power beyond its limits. An oral order was served to the respondents that this order should be executed immediately.
The order was issued on a complaint filed by lawyers Yesudas Varghese and Anayara G Rajendran against Vilappil Panchayat, Thiruvananthapuram City Corporation and the State Government.
The Lokayukta has asked all the parties to appear again on January 18.
Meanwhile, the Kerala High Court will consider the petition filed by the City Corporation against the panchayat decision on Monday.
With the Lokayukta also coming out against the grama panchayat, the burning issue of garbage management has taken a new turn, as the grama panchayat is remaining adamant on rejecting the pleas of both the State Government and the Corporation and also fighting it out legally. The Government had given an undertaking that the plant will be shifted from the site within three months, which the grama panchayat had turned down. The Corporation is keen on running the mechanism on the same spot.
The issue has attained big political dimensions, as expected, even when residents of both the Corporation and the grama panchayat grappling with stench and filth now for the past few days, while it was the fate of the latter alone in the past.