DINGWALL, Kerala — Coal plant operator Bharat Coal has died at the age of 68 after being diagnosed with lung cancer.
The company announced the news on Monday.
The cause of death was announced on Tuesday morning, but it was not immediately clear what caused the death.
Bharat Coal’s Chairman Anupama Dasgupta, who had been the chief operating officer of Bharat Steel in the state for the last 10 years, was appointed as the company’s new CEO by the state government on December 15.
In his announcement, the company said the death of the coal plant’s former chairman was “a great loss for the state”.
The state’s environment minister R.N. Srinivasan said that the company was committed to providing a safe environment for the workers, the community and the environment in the State.
The plant in the city of Sangamalai in the Ernakulam district has been the focus of the state’s attention for years due to the chronic pollution of its coal ash ponds and the toxic chemicals it contains.
According to the Environment Protection Authority of Kerala (EPA), the state produces about 1.6 million tonnes of coal ash each year.
According the EPA, in 2015, there were around 1,800 fires at the facility and around 1.4 million tonnes were produced.
In January 2017, the state and its officials were accused of setting fire to the plant, which had been in the midst of a massive coal plant shutdown.