Both the Congress and BJP today almost voiced in the same tone accusing the CPM-led Pinarayi Vijayan government’s negligence was responsible for the recent flood disaster in Kerala, lamenting it as `man-made’ floods. They particularly pointed out that the abrupt opening of shutters of the state’s 40-odd dams. It was felt taht a little planning and warning on the party of the government would have helped people to cope with the havoc better.
The main opposition in the state, Congress labelling it as the worst floods in a century to strike the state was a man-made disaster and sought a judicial probe into circumstances that led to it. The BJP slammed the unplanned opening of sluice gates of the dams.
Leader of Oposition Ramesh Chennithala felt that the situation could have been different if dam management was done properly. Leave alone scientists, even common people pleaded dam authorities to release the water gradually but they kept on waiting to generate maximum power, he added. He demanded action against electricity and dam officials. He also accused the government of sitting over forecasts of the meteorological department.
Congress leader and former power minister Aryadan Mohammed said the damage could have been limited if authorities had acted on time. He recalled that during the south-west monsoon in 2013 Idukki dam was full but anticipating the danger they opened shutters of small satellite dams. “But now we waited till the eleventh hour and opened all dams together,” he said.
The BJP’s state unit president PS Sreedharan Pillai said the impact of the floods could have been minimised if the government had done its homework properly. He recalled that experts have also questioned whether the water should have been discharged earlier than before and gradually from the bulging Idukki, Cheruthoni and Edamalayar dams.
Stating that water levels at several dams touched the brim by July-end, he asked why the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), which manages most of these dams, chose to open the shutters by mid-August,.
Meanwhile, well-known environmental scientist Madhav Gadgil has scoffed the statement of some leaders that another dam across the famous waterfall in Athirapally should have contained the damage in Thrissur and Ernakulam districts. In Kerala, water is managed most unscientifically. Sadly, many leaders still seek more dams, he added.