Chennai Floods: PIL seeks action against chief secy, top officials

Blames flood on unannounced release of large quantity of water.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai | Published:December 11, 2015 12:24 am
chennai floods, floods, chennai, chennai rains, chennai situation now, chennai situation latest, chennai latest, chennai news People wait for food at a relief camp in Chennai,Thursday. (Source: PTI)

A PIL filed in the Madras High Court Thursday sought action against Tamil Nadu government officials responsible for the delayed and unannounced release of a large quantity of water from Chembarambakkam reservoir. The petition filed by businessman-activist Rajiv Rai also demanded a probe into factors that resulted in the flooding of Chennai by a high-powered committee headed by a former judge of the high court or Supreme Court.

The petition said it was the release of a huge quantity of excess water from Chembarambakkam reservoir on December 1 that was responsible for the unprecedented flooding of Chennai. “If one studies the levels of water in the various catchment tanks on a daily basis, one can see that the reservoirs had much greater inflow than outflow right through November 2015. Some Standard Operating Procedures ought to have been in place whereby water was let off from Chembarambakkam and other reservoirs in stages and not held back till the fateful night of December 1, 2015,” the petition said.

Noting that the quantity of water released — 39,000 cusecs — was the highest ever recorded, the petition said the flood warning was issued only at midnight on December 1, and it did not serve the purpose as most people were either unaware of the warning or asleep. The petition alleged that state Chief Secretary K Gnanadesikan waited for three days after the Public Works Department (PWD) wrote to him on November 29 to release water from the Chembarambakkam reservoir.

“The chief secretary, even though he was well aware of the reports that there was going to be heavy downpour for a few more days, didn’t direct the release of the water when he received the warning from PWD. The said act of the chief secretary and other officials is willful and resulted in loss of over 280 lives and caused damage to property… Court should form an independent committee to investigate the matter and punish the officials for failure to perform their duty, as it amounted to nothing short of manslaughter,” the PIL said.

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  1. J
    Dec 13, 2015 at 12:17 am
    Justice should be swift, but political party leaders went to court to release the water and the evidence is there for all to see. Excessive rain along with release of water led to the loss of death and flooding. One cannot p the blame onto others what is clearly evident .No amount of excessive rain alone can cause such a wide scale damage. Influence of the leaders is a reason , judgement should be done without bias.
  2. K
    kushal kumar
    Dec 11, 2015 at 3:10 am
    This Vedic astrology writer had sought to convey , over a year past on 23rd October 2014 , two crucial spells of time for India in article - " Months of substantial concern for India in next year 2015" - published online at thesop. The second crucial spell of time identified to be November and December of 2015 was conve to be more grim , particularly for places nearby the sea. It was predicted : " Places nearby the sea may also need to take a cue. Mive floods , landslides , earthquake or epidemics or health hazards may visit. Prices of everyday essential use items are likely to shoot up to the level of high concern. Food and other crops may disappoint. Downside trend of economy may pinch one and all. Those at the helm of affairs , both in the Centre and States , may have a tougher time. Power , or dams or major accidents could be a cause of tension. There is a need to be particularly cautious on the borders because likelihood of conflict or intrusions or even war cannot be ruled out". It seems the alert implied so clearly for Chennai- Tamil Nadu and other coastal States of India may have possibly escaped attention of the concerned , being in online which is an ocean. Note :If winter comes, can spring be far behind. This astrology writer has, some days back , predicted that fury of rain may ease around 11th December to a satisfactory level while, there may be some relief in between.
  3. M
    Dec 11, 2015 at 3:55 am
    Chennai has a success story with Rainwater Harvesting, which means soil recharge or storing the water where it falls. Centuries ago plenty of trees were available and even without trees, man made ponds, lakes and canals and inter-linked drainage system are very effective for soil recharge. The tarred roads and concrete surfaces never allows the rain water to permeate down. The most cost-effective alternative are the segmental pavers or Interlocked Cement cobble. Interlocking Concrete Block Pavements are more durable and can be used in Building Premises, Footpaths, Malls, City Streets, Bus Terminals etc. Hope the proposed Smart Cities include the Water Harvesting as a top priority
  4. M
    Dec 11, 2015 at 3:45 am
    There will be a confusion and panic when a sudden disaster happens. Nobody can predict the future. According to Aristotle, there is always a reason for everything that happens in nature. Nature frequently reminds us that it is the supreme. Humans belong to a higher order species than animals and plants. Hence the God-given talent should be used to protect the Earth instead of overpowering it. Live and Help live. The Community sharing norms are very vital
  5. P
    Dec 10, 2015 at 7:32 pm
    Great going..
  6. R
    Ravi J
    Dec 10, 2015 at 11:30 pm
    Set up a commission with specific deadline. Prosecute those responsible at the earlest if theyare guilty. The w exercise should be completed in six months
  7. R
    Dec 13, 2015 at 6:03 pm
    Somebody (person or authority) is responsible for this manmade tragedy, and we the affected people want them to be held accountable.
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