Kochi Corporation Mayor M Anilkumar has claimed the waste crisis at Brahmapuram was a result of systemic failure for a long time.
The incumbent has accused the administrations under his predecessors of turning Brahmapuram into a waste dump yard for nearby local bodies leading to the bulking up of legacy waste.
Anilkumar has responded in the wake of the National Green Tribunal slapping a Rs 100 crore fine on the Corporation for the environmental pollution and health hazard caused by a massive fire at Brahmapuram.
The legacy waste on the 110-acre dump yard caught fire on March 2 and spewed toxic smoke for at least 12 days. The issue led to widespread protests from the Congress in the Assembly. Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya also sought a report from the state government.
"Systemic failure has happened at Brahmapuram," said Anilkumar. "That has provoked the NGT now." He claimed that his administration, which came to power on December 28, 2020, had been kept busy by the COVID pandemic and elections and by-elections.
According to the Mayor, Brahmapuram which is regarded as insufficient to handle the entire waste from the Kochi Corporation is a common dump yard for at least four other local bodies, including two municipalities.
"Thrikkakara and Brahmapuram I can understand because our vehicles go there. But why is waste from Aluva and Kalamassery municipalities and those from Cheranellore and Kumbalangi (grama panchayats) taken to Brahmapuram," Anilkumar said.
The Mayor has claimed the chain of systemic failures started when the tender for a waste-to-energy project was allotted in 2014. "The intention was to increase the waste because they saw plastic as the best raw material. But it didn't work out."