Kodungaiyur residents stage gate block, force garbage trucks to return
Chennai, September 16, 2007: More than 150 residents blocked the entrance of the Municipal Waste Dumping Ground in Kodungaiyur today. The residents belonging to neighbouring communities of K.K Nagar, Krishnamurthy Nagar and Rajarathinam Nagar, who are already reeling under the pollution caused by the nearly 2000 tonnes of garbage dumped in their backyard everyday, participated in the gate block.
The residents were agitating against the illegal dumping of waste by the Chennai Corporation. Nearly 50 lorries with the capacity of 20 tonnes each were lined up outside the Kodungaiyur Dumping Ground from the 14 th of September. The garbage was destined to go to another municipal waste dumping ground at Perungudi inside the Pallikaranai Marshlands in Chennai but it was diverted to Kodungaiyur because the Perungudi site was overflowing.
The residents resorted to this move due to the extreme stench that the putrefying garbage was emitting making conditions unbearable. The gate blockade began at 3:00pm when the residents stood in front of the main gate leading to the dump yard. The Assistant Commissioner rushed to the spot with the police force to pacify the residents but they demanded to meet the Commissioner of the Corporation, Mr. Rajesh Lakhoni.
After several requests from the Assistant Commissioner and threats from the police the situation remained tense. Finally at 6:00pm the Corporation Commissioner, Mr. Lakhoni arrived at the spot. In a conversation with the residents he declared that he as the Commissioner had the discretion to divert the waste to any designated spot in the city. The residents had no business to question the authorities on waste management, the refuse was diverted here only because the dumping ground at Perungudi (situated on the new IT corridor) was overflowing.
Unconvinced by the arguments the residents refused to give way to the trucks. Finally, under pressure the Commissioner was forced to divert the trucks back to Perungudi.