Kerala floods
Kerala

Rain caused Kerala flood, not dams, says Minister Thomas

The shutters of the Idukki dam were closed, exactly a month after they were opened in the wake of heavy downpour, inundating several parts downstream.

Kerala's Irrigation Minister Mathew T Thomas took umbrage under the Central Water Commission (CWC) report of Thursday that it was extreme rainfall between August 15 and 17 in Kerala that caused massive floods. The report says opening of dams did not cause floods but unprecedented rainfall was the reason. Dams do not cause floods and the water is stored in dams for irrigation and power generation. The minister bluntly rejected the other view that the opening of shutters of dams across the State led to deluge that left lakhs homeless, destroyed houses and roads and caused untold misery to people,

The CWC report was said to be on the basis of dam-related data generated during the period of heavy rainfall. The Minister quoted the report to justify the State Government stand that it was unprecedented heavy rain during the three days that led to the flood. This report absolved the Government of the charge that the floods were dam-related.

However, what still remains unanswered is the general dam rule that it remains full at the end of the monsoon and not mid-way. The Indian Meteorological Department had forecast widespread rain from June 1 to August 17 across Kerala.

The cumulative rainfall chart of the Thiruvananthapuram meteorological centre points out that the State recorded excessive rainfall, a 41 per cent rise over normal during this period. But high excessive rainfall was recorded only in Idukki (89 per cent rise at 1,749.1 mm) and Palakkad (75 per cent rise at 1,254.2 mm.

But the preparedness of the State in dealing with the situation still remains a puzzle as there was no flood mapping done and even a trial run was undertaken much late. Even evacuation was not planned and some of the relief camps were flooded in a few days, forcing authorities to shift people.