Thiruvananthapuram: While the Left Democratic Front government in Kerala has been basking in glory over how it effectively managed the flood havoc in the state, the Opposition said on Wednesday that the disaster was man-made, and that it actually reflected poor governance.
Senior Congressman and Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said the unscientific act of opening all the dams in the state in one go, after having kept their gates shut while the rains were filling up the dams, was primarily responsible for the disaster.
“The 1924 floods in Kerala was a natural calamity, the floods of 2018 is man-made”, Chennithala said, slamming the Communist Party of India Marxist-led government for its bad handling of the dams across the state. The 1924 flood that killed thousands is considered the worst in the state’s history.
“It boils down to the greed for money of some officials of the Kerala State Electricity Board”, Chennithala said, pointing to KSEB’s decision not to open the gates of the Idukki dam even after the water level crossed the red-alert level.
“The government did not consider the impact of the release of water from all dams together. The wisdom was missing”, Chennithala said.
KSEB chairman, N.S. Pillai, however, denied that the electricity board had anything to do with the flooding.
“If we had opened the dam gates at a much lower water level, we would have been blamed in the months ahead, saying all the water was used up. The fact is that we managed the dams well. We should in fact be congratulated for the manner in which we conducted the dam management”, he said.
Pillai said the water from dams contributed only about 10 per cent to the waters that surged into various towns, and that the real reason for the disaster was the copious amounts of rain water that fell everywhere.
The Catholic diocese of Thamarassery also slammed the manner in which the state government handled the disaster.
Thamarassery bishop, Remigius Inchananiyil said the government’s reaction to the crisis was belated. “Boats and helicopters came only after a full day had elapsed. These are things that can easily be foreseen and arranged. Much of the help came from local people”, he said.
The ruling LDF faced more embarrassment when a CPM area secretary of Narayambalam near Kochi, identified as Ullas, was charged for a skirmish at the relief camp and obstructing policemen in their official work.
A video on social media had shown Ullas involved in an argument with police and trying to keep a sack of rice on the head of one of the police officials.