14 March 2023 2:17 PM GMT
The Kerala High Court on Tuesday recorded the submission of the District Collector, NSK Umesh and Secretary of the Cochin Municipal Corporation, Babu Abdul Khader, that 100% of the fire that broke out at the Brahmapuram waste dumping site had been contained and that there was no smouldering visible to the naked eye. The court appreciated the efforts of the frontline workers who worked day...
The Kerala High Court on Tuesday recorded the submission of the District Collector, NSK Umesh and Secretary of the Cochin Municipal Corporation, Babu Abdul Khader, that 100% of the fire that broke out at the Brahmapuram waste dumping site had been contained and that there was no smouldering visible to the naked eye. The court appreciated the efforts of the frontline workers who worked day and night to douse the fire.
The Division Bench comprising of Justice S.V. Bhatti and Justice Basant Balaji placed on record its appreciation for the commendable work executed by the fire service personnel:
“This Court and the citizens of Cochin place on record their appreciation for discharging a herculean task of putting out the fire at the site at this time of the year by the Personnel of the Fire Department. We are conscious that either the failure to control the fire or allowing the fire to spread to the neighbourhood would have led to unimaginable consequences. We record our recognition, satisfaction, and appreciation to the Personnel of the Fire Department for all their efforts. We also record the same appreciation for the contribution of the Civil Defence Volunteers in putting out the fire.”
The court also indicated that the front line workers would be rewarded at a later stage:
"We call upon the Director General, Kerala Fire and Rescue Services/5th respondent, to convey our appreciation now placed on record to each one of the Personnel who has worked without differentiating the day and the night. appropriate stage of the proceedings, this Court would also observe suitable rewards and recognition by the State Government to the frontline firefighters"
The District Collector informed the court that despite the fire being put out, a 48-hour vigil would be observed and half the force will remain at the site in case of any further outbreaks. The Collector also submitted that a short-term strategy, along with timelines on the measures to be taken to prevent any recurrence of such fires at the Brahmapuram site, will be submitted by the Fire Department at the earliest.
Based on the data collected from air quality monitoring stations across the city, the Collector also informed the court that there had been a steady reduction in the Air Quality Index (AQI), and that it had come down to pre- Brahmapuram fire levels.
The High Court had initiated suo motu proceedings in relation to the fire that broke out on 02.03.2023 at the dumping yard of the Cochin Corporation at Brahmapuram. The smoke that billowed out of the plant spread over large areas of the city, and could not be fully doused despite strenuous efforts over several days.
The court in the previous hearing had called upon the Additional Chief Secretary, Local Self-Government Department, Sharadha Muraleedhar, and the District Collector, to assist the court with regard to implementation of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.
In this regard, the District Collector submitted on Tuesday that he would take urgent steps under the Section 33 (Requisition by the District Authority) and Section 34 (Powers and functions of District Authority in the event of any threatening disaster situation or disaster) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and Rule 12 (Duties of District Magistrate or District Collector or Deputy Commissioner) of the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 as short term measures.
The court took note of the proposed short-term and term-long measures suggested by the District Collector and the Additional Chief Secretary for proper implementation of the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 and provided its inputs for further consideration of the authorities.
The matter has been posted to March 21 at 1:45 PM for further consideration.
Case Title: Suo Motu V State of Kerala
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