The devastating floods of 2018 was the result of bad dam management by the state government, an independent examiner appointed by the Kerala high court, said in his report filed on Wednesday. With the general elections just weeks away, the report comes as a major embarrassment to the Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPM-led Left Democratic Front.
The main opposition, Congress, did not waste any time to hit out at the government. “The #UDF (Congress-led United Democratic Front) has been proved right by the amicus curiae report submitted before the Kerala high court. The Kerala floods that took the lives of 450 fellow mates is a man-made dam disaster," Ramesh Chennithala, the leader of opposition in the Kerala assembly, tweeted.
The court had appointed an amicus curiae based on a public interest litigation filed by former top bureaucrat and “metro man" E. Sreedharan.
The amicus curiae, Jacob P. Alex, told the court that all state governments had failed to use the 79 dams in Kerala for flood control or moderation, reported The New Indian Express newspaper. Dams in Kerala had not maintained effective flood control zones, the report added.
The report has suggested a more detailed inquiry into the Kerala floods by an independent expert committee, comprising a former Supreme Court judge, a reputed hydrologist, and experts in dam management and engineers, the newspaper report said.
Alex observed that the main cause of the deluge that occurred last August was heavy rainfall, but man-made factors contributed to the devastation caused by the flood waters, The Times of India (ToI) reported. “None of the 79 dams in Kerala were operated or used for the purpose of flood control/moderation, despite the obligation to utilize dams for the purpose of flood control/moderation also as per stipulations under National Water Policy, NDMA (National Disaster Management Authority) Guidelines on Floods, RTIOR (Real Time Integrated Operation of Reservoirs by Central Water Commission) and other similar directives," ToI reported.
CPM leaders were tight-lipped. Kerala power minister M.M. Mani, who is responsible for the dam operations, refused to comment. CPM leader and Kerala finance minister Thomas Isaac said he will study the report first before commenting.