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    Breeding grounds for snakes

    THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Neglected plots in the city are giving sleepless nights to neighbours. Fed up with the attitude of the owners, residents at Temple Junction, Sasthamangalam, have raised complaints regarding two plots in the area, which they say are infested with snakes. Close to 30 cents, one plot is open on three sides and is overrun by vegetation. Says Anand V P, secretary of the Temple Junction Mahadeva Powra Samithy: ‘’There are cobras and mongooses on this plot. Litterbugs who deposit waste materials near the plot are providing the animals with food and this place has thus become a safe abode for them. Occasionally, they creep into the nearby homes. As the reptiles have not yet harmed any of the residents, none seems to have taken the issue seriously.’’ ‘’The Samithy filed a complaint with the Health Inspector one-and-a-half months ago. No action was taken,’’ he said.Many fear to tread the streets fearing the snakes. ‘’Snakes have crept into our compound several times. They have crawled inside our home also. Pedestrians fear to walk down the street due to the unexpected appearance of snakes. The reptiles would immediately disappear when they hear the sound of somebody passing by,’’ says Mumthaj Zakir Hussain, who lives nearby.The second plot, which is around 70 cents inside a four-walled compound owned by a prominent film star, too is thickly covered with bushes of various kinds, providing a safe abode for reptiles. According to the secretary of Temple Junction Residents’ Association K Venugopalan Nair, the plot was cleaned nearly a year ago, but now it is again overrun by plants. Four months ago, a written complaint was filed with the health officials and a verbal complaint was made two weeks ago. So far, no action has been taken. ‘’Further action will be taken after the Health Inspector issues a notice,’’ says G Suresh Kumar, the Sasthamangalam ward councillor. In July, City Express had reported on the plight of people living next to a vacant plot at GPO. The plot is in the same condition, covered with weeds and infested by reptiles. The authorities say their hands are tied, the chief reason being the plots are privately owned. Says Mayor K Chandrika: ‘’The Corporation does not have the right to trespass on private land as it has been prevented by the High Court. The owners of the plots can be issued a notice by the Corporation in this regard. But in many cases, it is difficult to find the owners as they may be abroad.’’ S Pushpalatha, Health Standing Committee Chairperson, says: ‘’The Corporation can send three notices to the land owners which should be responded within seven days, 15 days and 24 hours respectively. When the owners fail to act in these three instances, legal measures can be taken against them.’’