Kochuveli Calm As Garbage Trucks Reach Railway Station
The Municipal Corporation’s move to transport garbage to Kochuveli passed off peacefully on Tuesday with four truckloads of garbage being deposited at the Kochuveli Railway Station to be used as foundation for a platform-construction project.
There were no visible protests from the local population despite a public action council’s announcement on Monday that it would block the trucks.
The four trucks reached Kochuveli by 1.30 p.m. under police protection, and proceeded straight into the railway station premises via the railway level crossing gate on the north side of the station.
Apart from a couple of media personnel and the police, none from the local population turned up at the premises. The Kochuveli Janakeeya Samithi had on Monday announced that about 300 people would gather in front of the railway terminal and block the trucks despite the prohibitory orders passed by the District Collector.
The plan was to block the trucks, with Samithi chairman K. Vidhyadharan stating on Monday that “neither the prohibitory order nor the possibility of heavy rain would dissuade the protestors”.
However, even at 1 p.m., Samithi convener G. Vasantharaj could not find more than 20 persons to stand behind him for the protest, following which the move was dropped.
“We decided not to block the trucks unless there were at least 200 people. People from the Vettukad ward should have joined us, but they did not. It appears that the public have been frightened by the prohibitory orders,” Mr. Vasantharaj said, referring to orders issued by the Collector under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
A few people, numbering less than 30, however were seen standing in huddles a little ahead of the railway station after the four trucks had returned, some arguing that even if there were only 20 people, no more trucks should be allowed.
Mr. Vasantharaj said the protest would however be “re-organised” on Wednesday, when they were expecting about 200 people to gather by 12 p.m. at the spot.
A fairly large posse of policemen, numbering about 50, was stationed near the level crossing from 11.30 a.m. and returned only after 2 p.m., after trucks carrying mud to be deposited over the garbage too had returned.