Even as the relatives of a man, who died in Kochi on Sunday, after suffering from a respiratory disease, claimed that smoke from Brahmapuram waste yard fire caused his death, the Centre sought a report from the state government over the fire incident.
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, in a tweet on Monday, assured that the Centre will support the state "to ensure public health measures."
"Have asked Kerala State Government to submit a report on the incident of fire at #Brahmapuram waste dumping yard in Kochi. Centre will support the State to ensure public health measures," his tweet read.
Earlier in the day, Minister of State for External Affairs of India V. Muraleedharan met Mandaviya and sought the Union health ministry's intervention into the fire mishap.
Following the meeting, Mulareedharan claimed that the Brahmapuram plant has been operating without adhering to waste management rules. “I have asked the health minister to immediately intervene into matters, including carrying out studies to evaluate the environmental impacts of the fire,” Onmanorama quoted him as saying.
Meanwhile, District Collector N.S K. Umesh informed the Kerala High Court that the fire at all the sectors in the affected plant were extinguished by Sunday night but minor reignitions were seen on Monday morning.
He told the court that the fire service officials and the other agencies will monitor the situation for the next seven days.
The fire, which began on March 2, was almost completely extinguished on Sunday night. On March 10, taking serious note of the administration's failure in tackling the smouldering fire at the plant, the High Court had appointed a committee to monitor the situation.
Death blamed on smoke
Seventy-year-old Lawrence Joseph from the city was reportedly suffering from respiratory issues since November. According to his relatives, his health condition worsened in the past week.
“The intense smell due to the smoke becomes worse around 8 pm and Lawrence used to find it difficult to breathe then. Though unwell since November, his condition worsened in the past week," his wife told Onmanorama.
"The smoke causes discomfort even for those who have no breathing issues. I can't imagine how it would have affected him," she said.