Kochi: At a time when Vilappilsala, Laloor, Vadavathoor and Brahmapuram boil with the protests of residents because of mounting waste from the urban landscape, residents of South Chittoor in Cheranellore panchayat here are heaving a sigh of relief seeing a huge waste dump turning into the site of a Rs 1,500 crore hospital project.
Till a decade ago, residents in this panchayat were troubled by screeching lorries carrying heaps of waste. By the end of 2003, the huge pile of waste overflowed from the 13 acres of Kochi Corporation land in Chittoor into Periyar and also into adjoining plots, polluting land and river and producing an unbearable stench.
The dump included medical waste. Vultures, street dogs, flies and mosquitoes thrived on the waste dump making life miserable. The residents of Chittoor had unsuccessfully blocked the waste dumping by Kochi Corporation in 1997, the year it started. The Corporation authorities framed cases against agitators. The High Court order in 1997 itself to find an alternative place for waste dumping in six months was also not honoured.
“Thus we were made to suffer for seven years until Justice K P Radhakrishna Menon, the then Ombudsman for local bodies, visited the place in 2004 and understood its gravity and ordered the Corporation to stop it.
We are really grateful to him,” says Mohan Mangattusseril, who petitioned the Ombusman and spearheaded the agitation in 2003, along with the late Govindan, father of panchayat president Suresh.
Today these plots and adjoining areas that form 38 acres are witnessing a revolution. The prestigious Rs 1,500 crore Aster Medicity project of the Dubai-based DM Healthcare Group is coming up on these 38 acres. “Years have passed by and we can’t believe this transformation. Anyway we have been saved,” says Mohan....