Pinarayi Vijayan responsible for 433 deaths in 2018 man-made Kerala floods, claims Oommen Chandy

The Indian Institute of Science's study pointed out that the flooding would not have occurred if the dams were managed properly
Pinarayi Vijayan responsible for 433 deaths in 2018 man-made Kerala floods, claims Oommen Chandy

Former Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Oommen Chandy has said that the 2018 floods were man-made after the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) conducted a study that pointed out that the flooding would not have occurred if the dams were managed properly.

“Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is responsible for the deaths of 433 people. If the UDF comes to power, it will take action against those responsible for the floods,” Chandy said.

Nearly three years after the devastating 2018 floods submerged Kerala, the IISc study revealed that faulty water level management at the dams resulted in flooding. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) issued directives to conduct the study.

The study found no rule curve was followed at major dams across the state during the floods. The study also showed that had dams in Kerala followed the rule curve during the floods, they could have held the water.

The study also pointed that there was no warning on the amount of water approaching the dams or the rainfall warnings. These could have led to the dams malfunctioning. The study said that had there been reliable weather forecasts, the dams would have been ready to hold the entire volume of water which in turn would have avoided the floods.

Many have stipulated that the government should have used the Idukki Dam as it has a large storage capacity and could have controlled the floods. The Idukki Dam is used only for power generation. Reportedly, not just the Idukki Dam but the Idamalayar Dam was also not used at full capacity during the floods. This is serious mismanagement.

In 2019, Kerala High Court-appointed amicus curie Jacob P Alex informed the court that the poor dam management caused the Kerala floods. He said that the releasing water simultaneously from different reservoirs during the heavy rain escalated the damage suffered during the floods. He also pointed out that many dams in the state did not have an effective flood control zone and flood cushions.

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