After 2018 dam opening fiasco, Vijayan plays safe this time
Thiruvananthapuram, October 19, 2021
Three years ago when Kerala witnessed the worst floods in a century, the Pinarayi Vijayan government came under severe flak for the dam management protocols and it even went to the court, but this time with one round of floods taking place, three shutters of Cheruthoni dam, part of the Idukki reservoir were opened on Tuesday.
Incidentally, on Monday Vijayan held an emergency meeting and decided to hand over the responsibility of opening dams to a special committee, as in 2018 there were massive floods which submerged parts of Ernakulam and Trissur districts and the then State Electricity Minister M.M. Mani came under heavy criticism for the way opening of dams was undertaken.
With more heavy rains predicted on Wednesday and Thursday, the decision was made on Monday that as a matter of abundant caution, it would be best if the shutters of the Cheruthoni dam are opened on Tuesday and it was done, when three of the seven shutters were opened and in a matter of seconds, one lakh litres of water from the reservoir ran down the pathway to the canal.
This is just the fourth time that the shutters have been lifted -- first in 1981, then in 1992 and in 2018 and now.
The decision to close the shutters will be taken after taking into account what happens when heavy rains across the state take place, as predicted.
Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition V. D. Satheesan on Tuesday slammed the Vijayan government for allegedly making a mess of the way the state government handled the forecast.
"The forecast by the concerned authorities had come much before but strangely nothing happened here. The disaster management authority here has become the biggest disaster. None should forget the way the Left Democratic Front organised a total shut down to protest against the Madhav Gadgil report (a few years back) stating that it was anti- farmer. The need of the hour is to take steps to protect the farmers and also the nature," said Satheesan.
State Revenue Minister K. Rajan said that, according to the forecast, heavy rains are expected in the state from October 20 till October 23.
"The predictions by the IMD last week did not suggest of even any alert in Kottayam and Idukki districts at all. It was in these districts that maximum loss took place," said Rajan.
Meanwhile with the Kerala Assembly session all set to resume after the Puja break from Wednesday, according to a source, with the weather continuing to play havoc and more bad weather predicted, there is every likelihood that after Wednesday's session, it would be stopped again and to resume once the weather situation improves, as in most places it's the legislators who are at the forefront of relief and rescue operations.