Smoke from Kochi waste plant fire toxic; declare health emergency: VD Satheesan

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VD Satheesan addressing media

Thiruvananthapuram: Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Assembly, V D Satheesan, on Wednesday urged the state government to declare a health emergency in the areas around Brahmapuram waste plant in Kochi, claiming that the toxic smoke from the waste mound fire has created serious health problems for the people living there.

Speaking to reporters here, Satheesan said, "An immediate health emergency should be declared in the area and adequate remedial measures should be taken after testing the level of air pollution there." Satheesan, a senior Congress leader, alleged that the air quality in the area has come down drastically, forcing people to inhale toxic fumes. "People are widely dizzy. Smoke is spreading not only in Kochi city but also in nearby districts", Satheesan claimed.

The Congress leader alleged that there was massive corruption in connection with the waste treatment contract in Brahmapuram. Levelling serious charges against the various departments of the government, Satheesan alleged that the fire is still not extinguished, and the garbage was burnt with petrol. "The contractors have committed a serious crime. Even if the fire is extinguished, the fire of corruption will not be extinguished", Satheesan alleged.

He claimed that various departments including health, local self-government and disaster management, are inactive at Brahmapuram. "There have been serious irregularities in connection with the contract. The waste mound was deliberately set on fire and the government is trying to protect the culprits," the LoP alleged. Meanwhile, BJP state president K Surendran alleged an understanding between the ruling CPI(M) and opposition Congress-led UDF in settling the Brahmapuram waste plant fire case as the contractors of waste management there were the relatives of top leaders of these parties.

He also urged the state government to hand over the investigation into the Brahmapuram fire incident to the central agencies. Several fire tenders, Indian Navy choppers and personnel as well as firefighting personnel and equipment from oil-PSUs Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum, etc were deployed in the last few days to control the blaze and extinguish it.


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