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Kerala

Kerala CM singles out bad weather forecast as reason for floods

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has blamed Indian Meteorology Department(IMD)’s bad weather forecast as the major reason behind the floods that ravaged the State in the middle of August. He also rejected the Opposition’s argument that poor dam management was largely to blame for the floods. Vijayan made this controversial comment while rounding off a day long discussion on the floods in the Assembly on Thursday.

“The failure on the part of the India Meteorology Department (IMD) to provide precise forecast about the intensity of rainfall had resulted in the floods. While IMD had forecast an average rainfall of 9.85 cm during the period from August 9 to 15, the registered rainfall was 35.22 cm,” Vijayan said.

“Intense rainfall was solely to blame for the devastating floods. Rivers such as the Achencoil and Chaliyar that were not dammed had also overflowed their banks,” he said. He also said a report of the Central Water Commission (CWC) had not found fault with the dam management system in Kerala.

Though IMD forecast heavy (7 to 11 cm of rainfall over 24 hours) to very heavy (12 to 20 cm) rainfall, there was no warning about extremely heavy rainfall (above 20 cm), he told the House. Extremely heavy rainfall in the catchment of rivers had led to a surge in the inflow into reservoirs, forcing dam managers to release excess water in large volume, he added.

“Kerala as a whole received 362% excess rainfall from August 13 to 19 while Idukki alone registered an excess of 568%. The shutters of the Cheruthoni dam had to be opened on August 9 itself following a surge in the inflow due to torrential rain,” he said.

Revenue Minister E. Chandrasekharan said 480 people had lost their lives during the monsoon season in Kerala. Water Resources Minister Mathew T. Thomas said the regulated discharge of water from dams had helped control the flood situation. Many of the irrigation dams were opened as early as June following heavy rains.