Shocking visuals have emerged from Cuddalore district in Tamil Nadu, which has been in the news for heavy rains over the last week. Shot by residents themselves, a video which is now viral, shows two vehicles belonging to the Town Panchayat dumping waste from Thittakudi taluk into a brimming river, which has come to life again after the recent monsoons.
The video shows the garbage being tipped into the water body, and flowing away in the current. This river in Thittakudi has been dry for five years and residents in the district had only just started rejoicing, when this video emerged. According to district authorities, degradable, non-degradable and medical waste has been dumped in the water body for over four days now. This water feeds the groundwater system, wells and finally even drains out into the Wellington lake in Cuddalore.
Speaking to TNM, Cuddalore Collector Anbuselvan says that he first caught wind of this major violation on Monday, when a resident approached him with a complaint. The next day, on December 3, the Collector then went to meet officials at the Town Panchayat to enquire about the garbage disposal. However, the Executive Secretary of the Town Panchayat Gunasekaran denied any illegal dumping. But the very same evening, visuals of the Panchayat vehicle unloading garbage into the water body reached the Collector.
Garbage being illegally dumped by a tipper lorry into a river in Cuddalore. pic.twitter.com/V0ZfJxf1atâ€” Anna Isaac (@anna_isaac) December 5, 2019
"After an inquiry, we have suspended the Executive Secretary and a Sanitation supervisor. The drivers were on contract and the Secretary says he was unaware that they were illegally dumping the garbage. However, this is his responsibility and should have been supervised by him," says the Collector. "We believe the immediate action will serve as a warning for officials across the district," he adds.
The Collector further adds that a system is in place in the district, for garbage to be collected, segregated and taken to landfills where a decision is then taken on which items can be recycled. However, while he claims that this illegal activity near the waterbody has been underway for only a short period of time, since the monsoons began, reports suggest that the practice has been alive for two years.