In a stinging indictment of the CPI(M)-led government in Kerala, a court-appointed amicus curiae has laid bare that the government's bungle was at the core of the flood devastation. According to the report, the flooding was caused by the delay in the opening of the shutters of some of the major dams in the state
What is it with the state governments in south India and their irresponsibility when it comes to floods?
In December 2015, when Chennai and its vicinity was ravaged by unprecedented deluge and consequently submerged in water leading to a huge amount of loss of lives and livelihoods, much of the problem could be traced to the then Jayalalithaa's government handling of the flow of water from the local reservoirs.
And now it has emerged that the Left Front Pinarayi Vijayan government in Kerala may have similarly botched the situation during the Kerala floods of August 2018.
In a stinging indictment of the CPI(M)-led government in the state, a court-appointed amicus curiae has laid bare that the government's bungle was at the core of the flood devastation.
According to the report, the flooding was caused by the delay in the opening of the shutters of some of the major dams in the state. This triggered a huge deluge. The report, submitted to the Kerala high court, categorically says that the flood was more man-made, and less nature-made.
The amicus curiae, Jacob P Alex, in fact, lays the blame straight at the doors of the state government. The report said that the state government was guilty of not following proper flood control mechanism and norms of 'flood cushion' at dams were not maintained effectively.
It may be recalled that people were totally caught off guard in locations like Ranni, Chalakudy, Paravoor and Chengannur, where inundation was swift and fast. As one journalist in a newspaper had said, "waters arrived fast and furious like a bullet fired from a gun."
The amicus curiae now says that the government failed to issue a red alert to the public, who were trapped unawares.
The report also suggested to the high court that a high-level investigation be carried out in the matter to fix responsibility for the disaster, which, for the record, claimed nearly 500 lives besides causing destruction to properties worth hundreds of crores of rupees.
As a matter of fact, Kerala is still to emerge fully out of that deluge of last August. The tell-tale evidence of the destruction are still visible in places like Wayanad, which has now become a high-profile constituency in the light of Rahul Gandhi's decision to contest from there.
Talking of which, the piercing report of amicus curiae would now make last year's floods a bigger poll issue than it is now.
The Congress-led UDF alliance group can be counted to use the report to hammer home its political point. So far the criticism of the Pinarayi Vijayan administration has been about the slowness and inadequacy of the relief efforts.
The LDF government which was already facing a lot criticism for its maladroit handling of the sensitive Sabarimala issue will be now pushed to be further defensive in its strategy.
The Left Front has a tough political battle on its hand now in places like Thrissur, Aluva, Kochi, Pathanamthitta — places that suffered heavily in the floods.
Till the moment of writing, there has been no formal response from the government to the amicus curiae's damning report. But the Left Front cannot wash its hands off the problem by keeping quiet. It has a lot to answer for.
It may be remembered that the same Communist government, with the active backing of many Left Liberal handles on social media platforms, had created a picture that it (the government) had handled the flood situation in remarkable way. But it now turns out that the floods in the first place were caused by the government's blunder.
It had cleverly used the situation then to project itself as a saviour. In the end, it is perhaps the main villain.
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Last Updated Apr 4, 2019, 4:11 PM IST