Thiruvananthapuram: The people of Peringammala have completed 115 days of fighting against the proposed waste-to-energy plant. At least to some, the protest might seem premature, as the state government has only identified land and is yet to initiate any proc-ess to set the plant up.
But, any wait could be dangerous, said Sali Palode, a wildlife photographer who has photo-documented the area. “In the case of any government project, once every document is ready for the project’s take off, a resistance from the people will cause friction and problems. If we start making our position clear right in the beginning, there will be room for dialogue. This place is not environmentally suited for any waste plant,” he said on Tuesday, the 116th day of protest.
He has clicked postcard-like photographs of a foaming river close to the plot and plantain farms, with misty blue hills in the background. “The Chittar river winding close to the plot starts from Ponmudi and goes up to Anchuthengu, feeding 38 major drinking water projects. More-over this is UNESCO Heritage Area, and is marked as an ecologically sensitive area as per both Gadgil and Kasturirangan report,” he said.
KSIDC, the nodal agency for the seven waste-to-energy projects, has identified land in the district agricultural farm at Peringammala. Unlike the other six chosen plots, this is not a waste dump, and in fact is a land used for cultivation, said a resident who wouldn’t want to reveal his name. Close to the farm is a swarm of people.
His home is in the tribal settlement of Oruparakarikkakom, which lies adjacent to the farm. There are 40 families here, and 80 families in Panniyott-ukadavu, another tribal settlement not too far from the site. Within 300 metres is Pethala Karikkakom, a colony of around 40 families primarily consisting of scheduled caste people. A little away, but within a kilometre there are several other tribal settlements, which would all add up to a thousand people, according to him....