Brahmapuram fire: Kerala Police, Vigilance yet to submit report, no clue on cause yet

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Firefighters at Brahmapuram plant in Kochi on March 26, Sunday | Photo: Mathrubhumi/Rahul GR

Kochi: The Kerala Police and Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) teams probing the fire at Brahmapuram Waste Treatment Plant are yet to make a breakthrough in an incident that left Kochi City on the verge of an air pollution emergency.

It's been over two months since the fire & safety officials managed to douse the fire at Brahmapuram. However, the probing agencies are yet to submit a report to the government or confirm what caused the accident in the first place.

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The preliminary investigation report by police ruled out foul play and stated that it was an accident.

Besides, the government has appointed a three-member expert committee to probe the landfill fire. The committee, composed of former chairman of the Electricity Regulatory Commission and former principal accountant general Preman Dinaraj, environmental scientist Dr Ajayakumar Varma, and CUSAT School of Environmental Studies Prof V Sivanandan Achari, was asked to submit the report within a month.

The fire broke out in the Brahmapuram plant on March 3 and was fully extinguished by March 13. The plumes reached kilometres away, causing a massive crisis in Kochi city and nearby areas.

Following the incident, the Kochi Corporation and other government bodies were criticised for mismanagement.

In relation to the fire, two separate cases were registered by the police. The investigating team also collected the statements of more than 100 people and examined CCTVs in the plant. The police officials are waiting for satellite images from the plant premises.

Meanwhile, the probe announced by the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau, per the instructions of chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, is also yet to conclude the investigation.

Currently, a special team led by Vigilance SP is probing 15 years of transactions related to the contract signed by the Corporation with the company tasked to manage and treat waste in the plant. Vigilance is also probing whether there has been corruption over awarding contracts.

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