Launching an aggressive poll campaigning in J&K, MoS in the PMO Jitendra Singh on Friday released the BJP’s “charge-sheet”, accusing the Omar Abdullah government of ignoring repeated warnings by the Meteorological Department about impending floods, which eventually claimed more than 200 lives.
Reading from the four-page “chargesheet” which, according to him, was the first in a series, Singh said that the department had sent alerts to the state government for “five straight days before September 7, when devastating floods ravaged the historic Srinagar city”. At one point, the department even “went beyond its duty”, warning the government that continuous rains could “trigger flash floods and landslides and disrupt road and air transport”, he added.
“Though the department has no mandate to issue alerts about landslides and flash floods, the developing weather prompted it to go ahead with the warning,” he said, adding that “it was a difficult choice to make because such a warning could have triggered panic among the people”.
He said that “four days before Srinagar sank,” the MeT had on September 3 sent a “specific warning” to the government.
A copy of this warning was also sent to the Chief Engineer Mechanical Division, Srinagar, and other government departments, he said. Quoting sources in the MeT Department, Singh read that “whenever western disturbance and strong monsoon currents meet, it creates a strong system which has often led to floods in Kashmir in the past’’.