In a setback to the Left government in Kerala, the amicus curiae report on the floods last year has found that none of the 79 dams in the state were operated or used for the purpose of flood control.
As Advocate Jacob P Alex, the High Court-appointed amicus curiae, found lapses on part of the government, the Opposition Congress and BJP demanded that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan should quit and a case of murder be lodged against him.
Over a dozen PILs had sought a probe into the government lapses that led to the flood. The report was submitted in the High Court on March 27.
According to the report, no effective flood control zone was maintained and there was a high reservoir storage level even in the first week of August. It also blamed the sudden release of water from all dams and reduced reservoir capacity due to siltation. Besides, there was no integrated operation of dams based on scientifically identified Rule Curves, and a proper flood warning system was absent.
The amicus curiae recommended formation of a detailed inquiry committee headed by a former Supreme Court judge. It said there should be a proper flood plain zoning, preparation of inundation maps, finalisation of emergency action plans and updation of Rule of Curves.
The report said no proper and effective evacuating system was in place amid the red alert.
The report has quoted the state government’s counter affidavit which said the flood was due to heavy rain which was never predicted by the IMD before August 15, 2018. It said high intensity rainfall in such a short period will cause flooding even without discharge from dams. The report said none of the dams in Kerala are exclusive flood control dams but are only designed for water conservation and power generation.
While state government’s counter affidavit said there was no proper warning about heavy rains, the Centre’s counter affidavit said the IMD had issued all necessary severe weather warnings.