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IMA plant at Thannimoodu: Locals to strengthen agitation

The residents of Thannimoodu in Elavupalam, near Palode, where the IMA’s hospital waste treatment plant is proposed are unequivocal about their land and its resources.

Published: 09th January 2018 01:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th January 2018 09:04 AM   |  A+A-

A myristica swamp near the proposed site of a waste treatment plant of the IMA at Thannimoodu,near Ilavupalam in Thiruvananthapuram district | B P Deepu

Express News Service

ELAVUPALAM (T’PURAM): The residents of Thannimoodu in Elavupalam, near Palode, where the IMA’s hospital waste treatment plant is proposed are unequivocal about their land and its resources. “We depend on the stream here for water in our wells,” said a local. “The people who work here drink water directly from the stream. Once a waste treatment plant is set up here, the waterbody will be polluted and contagious diseases will spread. We will not allow anyone to set up the plant here. Our children and grandchildren have to live here.”

The controversy over the plant continues as residents, mostly tribal communities, resist the possible contamination to the riverbed of the Vamanapuram river tributary deep inside the forest which they say will adversely affect people and wildlife. The local people who had been living here for several decades say they would rather die than let the plant be set up.

The pristine forest is noted for the presence of a large number of wild animals, including elephants, leopards, wild boar and wild water buffalos. The swamp provides a natural habitat for mangrove forests and rare species of flora and fauna.

Sreekumar, one of the residents of the Thannimoodu Kani colony located just 300 metres from the proposed site, said he had been residing in part of the land now sold for the project. “People came to know about the IMA waste treatment plant only from media reports. My family has lived here for several decades, ” he told Express. Sreekumar points out poignantly the site for the plant still has remnants of his house, well and a waterbody nearby.

“For several years, the land near the swamp had been used as a paddy field. Of the 6.80 acres handed over to the IMA, 5.5 acres were paddy fields,” says Venu, who works as a caretaker in a plantation nearby.
The Peringamala panchayat in which the proposed site is located is also opposing the plant. There are around 10 educational institutions, including anganwadis, UP schools and higher secondary schools in the panchayat. One of the anganwadis is located just 300 metres from the site.

Omana has lived in Thannimoodu for several decades. The widow now lives with her children and grandchildren. Her children live in about five acres partitioned among them.If the waste treatment plant is set up here, the lives will not be the same, said Omana. “We don’t have money to purchase land outside the forest and construct houses. We will not find any work. Our children cannot afford expensive education outside. We will not allow our water to be contaminated and our land to be polluted. We don’t want our daughters to deliver physically and mentally disabled children like those in endosulfan-affected regions in Kasargod,” she said.

Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala, former KPCC president V M Sudheeran, district panchayat president V K Madhu, District Collector K Vasuki and BJP district president S Suresh visited the spot and assured all support to the locals agitating against the plant.



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