The Kerala High Court on Monday observed that the Vilappilsala waste treatment dispute was a ‘political fight’ rather than one for a public cause and directed the state government to find out a mechanism to restart the work of the existing plant.
The court also directed to constitute an expert committee to look into the proposal of installing a leachate plant at Vilappilsala waste treatment plant of the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation and to find ways and means for arriving at a solution to the current issue.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice A M Shaffique issued the directive while considering a petition filed by the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation.
The court directed the state government, Corporation, Vilappil panchayat and Janakeeya Samara Samithi to give a list of experts in the fields of environment and pollution control for forming the committee. “The committee will look into the working of the existing plant and find ways and means to answer the apprehensions of the local residents of the panchayat regarding health problems foreseen by them,” the court said.
The state government submitted before the court that it had successfully moved the last required machinery for setting up a leachate treatment plant at Vilappilsala. The government has taken several steps to resolve the garbage issues.
Suchitwa Mission provided an amount of Rs 5.7 crore to the corporation in this regard and almost all the houses in the city have been covered by waste treatment system. A mobile incinerator which can treat eight to ten tonnes of waste per day has started functioning in the city. A modern waste treatment plant at Chalai using integrated technology which produces electricity is expected to start operations by March, the government said.
The Corporation submitted that garbage was being processed in the plant till December 21, 2011, but was stopped following public protests. The crisis led to piling up of waste in the city, the Corporation said.
Counsel for the Samara Samithi vehemently opposed the plea of the Corporation and submitted that since the state has taken steps to resolve the issue, the petition seeking police protection should be dismissed. The strike against the plant has been continuing for the last ten years during which more than ten cases were registered against the protestors and a civil suit is pending in this regard, the court was told.