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Kerala: BJP alleges corruption by LDF and Congress behind the Kochi landfill fire, calls for CBI investigation

BJP alleges that Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan’s son-in-law and the sons-in-law of a former LDF leader and a Congress leader are involved in corruption that resulted in the man-made disaster.

The BJP on Wednesday sought a CBI investigation into the Brahmauram disaster incident in Kerala, alleging that corruption involving relatives of Left- and Congress-affiliated officials in the state was to blame for the lack of a waste-management strategy that resulted in a disaster at a dump in Kochi.

The son-in-law of the state’s chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, as well as the sons-in-law of a former Left Democratic Front (LDF) leader and a Congress leader, according to BJP leader Prakash Javadekar, “are all accused of being involved in the massive” corruption that recently resulted in the man-made disaster.

“There are three sons-in-law, two companies and a big scam. The LDF and the UDF have come together in looting Kerala,” he said stating that the businesses chosen to handle the city’s trash disposal are related to politicians.

The accusations made by the former Union minister at a BJP news conference today received no instant response from the Left or Congress. The news conference included representatives from the Kerala BJP, such as former Union minister K J Alphons and Union minister V Muraleedharan. “I am directly saying that the chief minister has taken an interest,” Javadekar said.

He expressed hope that the state’s high court, which has taken up the case independently, will order a CBI investigation into the situation. Congress is the biggest opposition party in Kerala while the Left is in power. According to Javadekar, both are currently working together to pillage the state. He pointed out that hundreds of residents were compelled to evacuate the smoking area when the dump caught fire on March 2 and raged for about 15 days, creating severe difficulties for many. In response to a query, he stated that the Center will likewise take action on the matter.

While the solid management rules were notified by the Centre in 2016, the Kerala government never followed them, leading to a complete “mismanagement” of waste all over the state, he said. The Union’s environment minister at the time was Javadekar.

He further noted that after being awarded a contract for Rs 54 crore to handle Kochi’s garbage, the company selected for the job subcontracted the work to other companies for more than Rs 22 crore.

“Goa and Indore have been among the best examples of managing waste and turning it into wealth. But the Kerala government never tried to do anything in this regard. In Kochi, there is no plant, no processing, no machinery but only expenditure. When various teams including from the Central Pollution Control Board and other organisations visited Kerala and studied the site, they found no waste-processing plant, no waste bio-mining plant but just a dilapidated compost structure,” Javadekar was quoted as saying.

Recently on March 18, the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) Principle Bench ordered the Kochi Municipal Corporation to pay an environmental penalty of Rs 100 crore for poor garbage management which led to a major fire on March 2 at Kochi’s Brahmapuram trash disposal yard. The fire resulted in severe air pollution in the city of Kochi for about two weeks at the beginning of this month.

Fire at Brahmapuram waste plant

On March 2, a massive fire broke out at the Brahmapuram waste facility in Kochi, and as a result, the air quality in the port city and the nearby areas deteriorated as they were shrouded in a thick envelope of smoke. Locals in the region reported many issues, including breathing difficulties, dry coughs, discomfort, and dry eyes as the smoke proceeded to cover the entire town. Toxic fumes contaminated many adjacent areas.

On March 5, as massive and dense clouds of toxic smoke billowed from the site and blanketed the city, the district government of Ernakulam issued a holiday for students in all schools in regions under the Kochi corporation and the neighbouring municipalities and village panchayats.

Amid complaints of breathing difficulties and dry eyes by residents, the local administration advised people to remain indoors and use N-95 masks when they step out.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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