With allegations doing the rounds that the massive heaps of plastic waste at Brahmapuram garbage yard were deliberately set on fire by vested interests, the Kochi City police have launched a probe to ascertain the cause of the fire, raging for the fourth consecutive day on Sunday.
The probe will cover the possibility of the fire being started deliberately, it is learnt. District Police Chief (Kochi City) K. Sethuraman, who visited the site on Sunday, said the probe was in its initial phase. Stating that the immediate priority was to douse the fire, he said efforts would be made to prevent its recurrence.
The Infopark police have registered a first information report (FIR) based on the statement of a local body member and have begun a probe into how the plastic waste caught fire on March 2, resulting in toxic smoke billowing from the premises, posing health hazard to people living in the vicinity and even in the city. The probe will cover the possibility of sabotage by stakeholders involved in garbage disposal, it is learnt.
TRURA demands investigation
The Thripunithura Rajanagari Union of Residents’ Associations (TRURA) has joined the bandwagon of organisations that have demanded an in-depth probe into the fire and emergency steps to douse it. The probe must be conducted under the supervision of the Kerala High Court, demanded delegates attending a women’s meet organised by the body. The toxic smoke from the yard has thrown life into disarray in multiple municipalities and the city. That and the accumulation of massive amounts of untreated garbage showed that the hundreds of crores spent over the years on the garbage-treatment plant had been wasted, they said. Kerala High Court judge Sophy Thomas inaugurated the women’s meet.
Kochi Corporation blamed
The Janakeeya Prathirodha Samithi has alleged that the Kochi Corporation was playing with the lives of residents by being oblivious to respiratory and other health problems that the fire at Brahmapuram triggered. The incident proved that multiple trips undertaken by senior functionaries of the civic body to study garbage treatment were in vain, it said. The government must bear the medical and hospitalisation expenses of affected people. The announcements by the Corporation and district administration on tackling the fire were piecemeal, since smoke and toxic gas had spread over a vast area, said Francis Kalathumkal, the district convenor of the Samithi.
West Kochi Passengers’ Association secretary S. Padmanabha Mallya has demanded a Vigilance probe into the phenomenon of fires raging at Brahmapuram every year. The hand of unscrupulous politicians was suspected, he added.