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Amicus curiae blames dammanagers and govt for floods

KC Gopakumar Kochi | Updated on April 03, 2019 Published on April 03, 2019

The amicus curiae appointed by the Kerala High Court in a slew of flood-related cases has informed the court that the sudden release of water simultaneously from different reservoirs during the extreme rainfall had aggravated the damage during the flooding that occurred in August last year.

The amicus curiae suggested constitution of an independent expert committee headed by a judge of a superior court to identify the causes of the floods.

The role of dams

Jacob P Alex, amicus curiae, also said in his report that none of the 79 dams in the State was operated or used for the purpose of flood control and moderation, despite the obligation to utilise them for flood control under the National Water Policy, National Disaster Management Authority guidelines on flood and RTIO (Real Time Integrated Operation).

It appears that dams in the State did not have effective flood control zone and flood cushion, the report said. Flood cushion or flood control zone was the temporary storage space for absorbing high flows for alleviating downstream flood damages. Had proper flood cushion or flood control zone been maintained, to what extent flood could have been contained and to what extent damage could have been mitigated or whether the release of water could have avoided are to be inquired further.

Procedural lapses

It was seen that high reservoir storage and sudden release of water aggravated the floods situation in the State. It seems that various alerts (blue/orange/red) were issued not in accordance with the EAP (Emergency Action Plan) guidelines. It was also seen that no proper follow-up action and effective precautionary steps, especially for evacuating people and accommodating them in safe locations were taken after the red alert. This is a matter to be inquired into, the report said

It seems that, in fact, none of the dams had EAP (Emergency Action Plan) despite the mandate of the National Disaster Management Authority to have it by 2009, the report said. EAP is a written document prepared by the dam operator which contained plans to prevent or lessen the impact in the case of a dam failure.

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Published on April 03, 2019
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