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"Will challenge NGT order": Kochi Mayor on Rs 100 cr compensation imposed on civic body

18 Mar 2023

Kochi (Kerala) [India], March 18 (ANI): Kochi Mayor A Anil Kumar on Saturday said that the Civic body will challenge the National Green Tribunal order which awarded Rs 100 crores in environmental compensation against Kochi Municipal Corporation for alleged continuing neglect of its duties resulting in a fire at a waste dump site in Kochi.

"Kochi Corporation will challenge the NGT order. An appeal will be filed in consultation with legal experts. We will look at all possible legal avenues," said Kochi Mayor M Anil Kumar.

Calling for a vigilance inquiry3-pronged inquiry into the Brahmapuram fire incident, Kumar said, "The wrongdoers, if any, will naturally be found out. The entire cost of extinguishing the fire at Brahmapuram was borne by Corporation. The amount will be told in the coming days".

The Tribunal stated that, according to a media report, Kochi city was choked on account of a fire at the waste dump site on March 2, 2023, which led to a crisis situation. A warning was issued to the residents to stay indoors and hospitals asked to prepare emergency admission of patients with respiratory distress to deal with severe air pollution and its worrying public health fallout.

Kumar blamed previous municipal councils for ignoring solid waste management rules.

"The previous municipal councils should answer why they did not make even Re 1 maintenance in the waste plant, the problem happened because previous municipal councils ignored solid waste management rules"Considering the studies and long continuing neglect of its duties by the Kochi Municipal Corporation, we award environmental compensation under section 15 of the NGT Act against Kochi Municipal Corporation of Rs. 100 crores which may be deposited with the Chief Secretary, Kerala within one month for necessary remediation measures, including dealing with the public health issues of the victims, said the bench headed by NGT's Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel.

The Tribunal noted that Kerala state reply said "the dump site is spread over 100 acres of land and a processing plant have a capacity for waste processing of 300 Tonnes Per Day. The contract to process the waste has been given to a contractor but only 33 percent of the work has been completed. Several major and minor fires earlier have broken out at the site. The present incident occurred on March 2, 2023, at 5:30 pm. The fire and Rescue Department took measures to control the fire. Naval Helicopters were deployed to airdrop water over the fire heaps. The fire was brought under control by March 5, 2023. (ANI)

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