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Kerala CM Orders Probe into Brahmapuram Fire Incident by Special Panel with Scientific Experts | Details Here


Mar 15, 2023

Reported By: Neethu Reghukumar

Edited By: Oindrila Mukherjee

Last Updated: March 16, 2023, 02:27 IST

Thiruvananthapuram [Trivandrum], India

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan said the fire at the Brahmapuram waste treatment plant had been completely extinguished by March 13. (Image: PTI/File)

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan said an SIT will probe the crime case registered in the Brahmapuram fire incident, while a vigilance inquiry will look into all proceedings of the waste management plant right from its inception

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Wednesday a special committee with scientific experts will be formed to look into the fire at the Brahmapuram waste plant, so as to figure out a way to prevent such an incident in future.

The chief minister was speaking inside the state legislative assembly and said the fire was completely extinguished by March 13. Due to the possibility of recurrence of small fires, precautions are still being taken, he added.

Vijayan said a special investigation team will probe the crime case registered in the Brahmapuram fire incident, while a vigilance inquiry will also be conducted into all proceedings of the plant right from its inception.

Ever since the fire broke out and the smoke started spreading, the health department has taken precautions to deal with any emergency situation.

“Special wards in Ernakulam Medical College and two taluk hospitals, 100 oxygen beds in district hospital, smoke casualty in Kalamasery hospital and mobile medical units besides. Private hospitals also cooperated well in healthcare activities. A system for continuous monitoring of ambient air quality was introduced from March 4,” the CM said.

Vijayan further said according to available figures, 1,335 people sought medical help at government and private hospitals – 128 were children below 10 years of age and 262 were above 60 years of age. A total of 21 people required hospitalisation while no one reported any serious health problem, he added.

Here is what the expert committee will look into:

  • What are the causes behind the fire?
  • What steps should be taken to prevent such fires in future?
  • How suitable is the current site as a solid waste treatment-waste disposal facility?
  • To what extent have observations and recommendations made by the State Pollution Control Board been followed?
  • Who is responsible for the failure to implement the recommendations?
  • Were there flaws in the agreement to implement windrow composting?
  • Did the Kochi Corporation properly monitor the work at Brahmapuram? Who was responsible for it? Were defects pointed out?
  • What steps have been taken by contractors to fix deficiencies identified in the work?
  • What is the reason behind accumulation of waste from other local bodies in the Kochi Corporation’s solid waste storage and disposal area?
  • What are the factors affecting the performance of the windrow composting plant?
  • Who is responsible for the deplorable condition and mismanagement of the windrow composting plant?
  • Analysis of previous waste management measures and reasons for delay
  • To what extent have respective parties complied with the obligations of the civic body and contractors under the contract signed in connection with the implementation of the bioremediation process?
  • What was the system for collection of organic and inorganic waste within the Kochi Corporation limits and their delivery to the treatment centre? How was the contractor’s performance evaluated? What was the reason behind the decision to collect waste without sorting and depositing it at Brahmapuram? What steps have been taken to resolve this?
  • To what extent has it been possible to ensure source waste management in facilities with large volumes of solid waste?

The activities in Kochi will be evaluated daily by the additional chief secretary of the local self-government department. Besides, ministers of local self-government and industries will conduct a review every week.

Vijayan also said close to 250 fire and rescue personnel worked round-the-clock in two shifts. “32 fire units, several Hitachis and high-capacity motor pumps were used for this. A total of 2,000 firefighters and 500 civil defence volunteers took part in the operations. The fire was put out as part of a very organised collective effort. I congratulate all the employees of the fire and rescue service, health department, civil defence, police and Kochi Corporation, who participated in this activity,” he said, adding that in the previous years, there have been four fire incidents at Brahmapuram.

The unscientific practice of bringing and depositing massive amounts of waste without segregation has prevailed in Brahmapuram for over a decade. The CM said between 1995 and 2000, the Kochi Corporation acquired 33 acres and then 15 acres of land in Brahmapuram for the waste management centre. Subsequently, 13 acres were acquired between 2000 and 2005 and 60 acres between 2005 and 2010.

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