In the day long special session of the Kerala assembly, senior Congress legislator VD Sateeshan, whose constituency Paravur in Ernakulam district was submerged, asserted that this is not a natural calamity, instead a man-made tragedy due to the faulty handling of the dam water management. He alleged that dams in the state were overflowing and the primary reason for this tragedy is the way the dam waters were indiscriminately let out. Stating that several dams were opened at midnight, he demanded that the need of the hour is to fix responsibility and find out who all are responsible for this.
K.M. Mani, a veteran opposition legislator, applauded the rescue efforts but said the tragedy could have been avoided had there been a proper dam management policy. “Now that the tragedy is over, rehabilitation work has to take a systematic approach,” he said. Mani added that money pouring into building a new Kerala should be collected in a separate account.
Earlier, Chief Minister initiating the debate said the Kerala flood disaster has claimed 483 lives and the estimated value of destruction “is more than the annual outlay of our state”. He said 14 people still remained missing although flood waters have receded from almost all parts of the state.
He added that at the height of the floods, the worst to hit the state in a century, there were 14.50 lakh people in more than 3,000 relief camps. “The latest figure is — there are 59,296 people in 305 relief camps. A total of 57,000 hectares of agriculture crops have been destroyed. An approximate estimate of the loss is more than the annual outlay of our state,” he added.
Meanwhile, the session saw a tough stand taken by the CPM when it did not allow two of its legislators, Raju Abraham and Saji Cherian, to speak in the Assembly while permitting nine other legislators to do so. According to informed sources, the Chief Minister was cut up with the two MLAs as they went public criticising the rescue operations and also the way the dams were opened, sending scores of villages and towns under water particularly in the central districts.