Brahmapuram Fire: Kerala HC Forms High-Level Committee To Investigate Cochin Dumping Yard

Brahmapuram Fire

The Kerala high court has recently constituted a high-level committee to probe the fire at the Brahmapuram dumping yard in Cochin.

The Cochin Municipal Corporation has ordered the Committee to conduct an audit of the environmental and infrastructure facilities offered at the Brahmpauram site.

The Committee’s task is to determine whether the location complies with the 2018 Solid Waste Management Regulations. Also, the effectiveness of the site’s infrastructure must be considered.

The Ernakulam District Collector, the Joint Chief Environmental Engineer, Ernakulam, Kerala State Pollution Control Board, Babu Abdul Khader, Secretary, Cochin Municipal Corporation, and the Secretary of the District Legal Services Authority will make up the committee, along with the Chief Engineer, Local Self Government Department, Director, Solid Waste Management Swachhatha Mission, and Member Convenor.

It has been asked to visit the location within the next 24 hours and to file a report with the Court, including any relevant photographs, on the next hearing date.

A Division Bench of Justice S.V. Bhatti and Justice Basant Balaji passed the order in the suo motu case initiated by the High Court on the Brahmapuram fire, which has been engulfing the city’s population for the past week.

The bench took notice that the National Green Tribunal, which had fined the Cochin corporation severely for its lapses in 2018, has been considering the Brahmapuram issue. The High Court has granted a stay of the NGT’s order in November 2018.

The bench questioned whether the Corporation had fulfilled its obligations following the issuance of the stay order. “From the date of the decision (stay order) and now, it cannot be asserted with confidence that any of the actions requested from the Cochin Municipal Corporation by the National Green Tribunal have been carried out,” the bench remarked.

The Court ordered the Secretary of the Cochin Municipal Corporation, Babu Abdul Khader, to resume waste collection and disposal operations in the city beginning tomorrow.

Sharadha Muraleedhar, the Additional Chief Secretary, stated the Court today that she had personally evaluated all of the local governments in the State and had given them clear targets and dates, as well as 120 action points. The Court questioned Muraleedhar about the institutions’ performance in accordance with the law.

It then directed the Additional Chief Secretary to use the authority granted by Section 5 of the Environment Protection Act to issue the required directives for the disposal of solid waste generated within the City’s territorial borders.

The division bench further ordered Muraleedhar to produce an additional Affidavit outlining the particular deadlines for the State government’s choices.

“To this extent, it is unreasonable to expect a solution by the next date of the hearing. However, we trust and hope that alternative solutions are also suggested to us not later than ten days from today,” the bench stated.

The matter has been scheduled for further consideration on March 13, 2023.


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