Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday will shed his silence on the Brahmapuram waste dump yard fire that has threatened to impact public health and the environment.
Pinarayi had maintained a stoic silence on the matter even as the opposition parties, mainly Congress, repeatedly demanded his comments.
The other day, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya sought a report on the 12-day episode in Ernakulam that spewed toxic fumes into Kochi City and neighbouring local bodies.
The chief minister’s response is expected to be a read-out under rule 300 of the procedure and conduct in the Kerala Legislative Assembly. The rule states that “no questions shall be asked at the time the statement is made”.
Even a challenge thrown by the leader of the opposition, VD Satheesan, in the Assembly, had not provoked the chief minister into a response.
Satheesan had implored whether the state government has initiated a study to understand the repercussions of the fire, so as to assess the health hazard it could contribute.
The Congress leader had dared the chief minister to respond as the departments of environment and pollution control fall under his purview.
There were also questions on the waste-to-energy strategy of the government as it was LDF leaders, including former Finance Minister TM Thomas Isaac, who championed a decentralised waste management system during the past term.
Under normal circumstances, the chief minister would respond to the challenges, but in this case, the silence of Pinarayi Vijayan left the opposition furious. Satheesan said denying the opposition its right to raise in the Assembly the matter of alleged police atrocity against protesting Congress activists, was fascism.
What is rule 300?
Usually, a resolution under rule 300 of the Assembly is invoked in matters that are of general interest, where a consensus is evident.
The most recent instance of the chief minister invoking rule 300 was during the coronavirus pandemic, in which he called upon the need to create public awareness about the infection.
The chief minister used rule 300 in his address on November 21, 2019, to appeal to the idea of rebuilding Kerala, which was devastated by floods.
Matters on loans, reservations and crises in the plantation sector are some of the subjects that have been made into resolutions under rule 300 in the last five years.