The Kerala government transferred nine IAS officers, including Renu Raj, the district collector of Ernakulam, after the Kerala High Court voiced its concern over Ms. Raj’s failure to appear in court for a suo motu case filed about the Brahmapuram fire tragedy. The fire at the garbage facility in Brahmapuram caught fire on March 2, covering much of the neighbourhood in smoke. The court criticized Ms. Raj for not fulfilling her duty and the transfer letter was sent within 24 hours. Environmentalists claim that residents of Ernakulam are forced to breathe hazardous fumes due to the fire.
Who is Renu Raj and Why Was She Criticized?
Renu Raj is a 36-year-old IAS officer who was serving as the district collector of Ernakulam until her transfer. She comes from a medically knowledgeable family, and after completing her MBBS, she worked for a government hospital while preparing for the civil service exams. The Kerala High Court criticized Raj for not appearing in court to brief them on the Brahmapuram fire tragedy, which took place on March 2, despite the court taking Suo-Moto cognizance of the incident. Raj’s failure to appear before the court led to her transfer.
The Brahmapuram Fire Tragedy
The fire at the Brahmapuram garbage facility in Kochi, Kerala, which started on March 2, covered much of the neighbourhood in smoke. The fire has still not totally been put out, and the landfill still emits smoke, causing hazardous fumes. The Indian Navy and Air Force’s helicopters are working alongside fire and rescue personnel to put out the fire. Environmentalists claim that an estimated 50,000 tonnes of non-degradable trash smolders, forcing residents of Ernakulam to breathe hazardous fumes.
Holiday Declared in Ernakulam
After the Kerala High Court’s stern warnings, the district administration declared a health precautionary holiday for the following two days for all educational institutions, including professional colleges, from March 9 to March 10. The holiday will be applicable for Kochi Municipal Corporation, three municipalities, and three panchayats. This is being done to protect the residents of Ernakulam from the hazardous fumes emanating from the fire.
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