Kozhikode Residents Oppose Sewage Treatment Plant
The construction of the Kozhikode Municipal Corporation’s sewage treatment plant (STP) in Kothi is facing stiff opposition with residents citing possible health and environmental hazards.
After stopping the construction on November 24, the protestors prevented corporation officials and workers from reaching the construction site on November 28 by placing fibre boats on the way. Besides, United Democratic Front (UDF) councillors protested in front of the corporation’s office.
On the other hand, the Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad (KSSP), the Kerala unit of the All India People’s Science Network (AIPSN), has favoured the plant by citing the effective functioning of STPs at medical colleges in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode.
Mayor Beena Philip claimed that the project, which is already delayed, is essential for the corporation. The corporation had reached out to the residents and explained the technology used in the STP to allay their apprehensions.
“Such projects are absolutely necessary for urban areas considering the increasing density of population. The corporation must ensure the implementation of the project and address the concerns of the people opposing it,” Vinod Kumar PM, district secretary, KSSP, Kozhikode district unit, told Newsclick.
The corporation even arranged a visit of the opposers to the Thiruvananthapuram STP to make them aware of its functionality and effectiveness.
“The plants in the Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode government medical colleges are performing effectively. Still, the corporation has the responsibility to take citizens into confidence,” Kumar added.
These plants are using Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor (MBBR) technology and the treated water is used for purposes other than drinking and bathing.
The corporation has also proposed to restart the STP at Karimpanapalam under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme. The project, planned under Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project, was put on hold seven years ago.
The corporation had been planning, at least, three STP only to be put on hold owing to protests. Such protests have continued since 2015, leading to the inordinate delay in construction.
The protest against the plant at Avikkal Thoddu, close to the coast, also hit a roadblock despite clearance by the National Green Tribunal. The residents are citing the problems persisting in Njeliyanaprambu, the dumping area of Kozhikode. The corporation has begun a project to convert the waste into electricity to nullify the dumping.
“People fear a similar situation due to the construction of the STPs but the other STPs tell a totally different story. The fear among the public must be allayed to ensure the successful implementation of the project, Kumar said.
Beena Philip accused the UDF of changing its position after a section of the population started protesting despite the Kerala High Court permitting the construction.
“The UDF and Congress leaders, including Kozhikode MP MK Raghavan, had supported the project. They are opposing the project now for political mileage,” she told the media.
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