The Kerala government is investigating the illegal chemical production and disposal of organic waste at a facility owned by a company controlled by a former minister, sources in the state said.
The state-run company, known as Kalyani Chemicals, was recently banned from conducting chemical production for several years after an investigation by the Union Chemicals and Fertilizers Board (UCFB) revealed that the company illegally dumped organic waste in residential areas in Kalyan and neighbouring villages.
The ban came into effect on June 1.
In the wake of the UCFB’s report, the state government has initiated a criminal probe into the issue.
The Kerala High Court has ordered the company to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore and to conduct a complete chemical analysis.
Kalyani is owned by Mukesh Mukesh, who is currently the Union minister for health and family welfare.
Mukesh was recently appointed as the head of Kerala’s Chemicals Industry Development Authority (CIDA), a nodal agency that regulates the use of chemical pesticides.
Mukesh is also a member of the ruling party, and the company has a close relationship with the BJP, which has governed the state since 1984.
The company has also benefited from a loan guarantee scheme from the state-owned bank.
Kerala has a population of 1.5 million people and has a total of about 14 million acres of forest.
The state is the world’s largest producer of organic pesticides.
The industry generates around 40 percent of Kerala State’s total revenue.