Former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that the tragedy caused due to heavy rains and floods in the state was due to the present state government’s glaring omission of not being able to foresee things.
Chandy told IANS that even though this was not the time to politicise the tragedy, he was forced to say what Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan himself pointed out.
“Since the monsoon season began in the end of May, Kerala received heavy rains in three parts and since being in segments there should have been a basic planning process. But for some reason it did not happen and hence tragedy struck the state very hard,” said Chandy.
Monsoon began in the last week of May and heavy rains came in three segments till the second week of August.
“The glaring omission came when the government failed to act according to the pattern of rains. In hindsight, it’s easy to say that it should have been done this way and not that way, but it’s here where the calculations went haywire,” the former leader said.
For the first time in the history of the state, on account of the heavy rains during the past three months had to open the sluice gates of 33 dams including the Idukki dam which was opened after 26 years.
“The authorities misfired when it came to handling the Idukki dam as it was not opened earlier and instead waited till the last minute which caused a huge damage to life and properties. The weather forecasts were right in front of the authorities. To substantiate what I said, you can just look into the manner in which state Power Minister M.M. Mani handled the Idukki dam and then correlate it with what Vijayan said,” added Chandy.
The number of dead in the rains and floods now stands at 417. Hundreds have started returning home from relief camps, but still leaving 8.69 lakh people in 2,787 shelters. The total damages is estimated to be over Rs 35,000 crores.