Kerala Floods man-made disaster? HC files Suo moto PIL over late opening of dams

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New Delhi:

Days after a civil engineer from Kerala dashed a letter to Justice V Chidambaresh, claiming that the devastating flood across the southern state of India was a man-made crisis, the High Court on Friday registered a PIL Suo moto based on the same.

Joseph N Rappai, a civil engineer urged the court to take legal steps against Kerala ministries and officers, accusing them of not opening the sluice gates of dams on time.

Going by Rappai's letter, the life-threatening flood, which has claimed over 350 lives across the state, would not have occurred if the government had opened shutters of the dams before 25.

Hence, turning its blind eye to life and property of Kerala, the government has committed a crime, which led to the worst flood in nearly a century, killing and displacing several citizens across the state, the letter added.

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The Pinarayi Vijayan government, however, has put the blame on a record rainfall, which is not true as per the reports, provided by the Indian Meteorological Department.

In 2018 Monsoon, Kerala has received 771 mm of rainfall, 179 per cent more than usual. The heavy downpour resulted in 78 of the state's 80 dams full of water, including the ones at Mullaperiyar and Idukki on the Western Ghats.

Meanwhile, the sudden water pressure inside the dams forced the government to open their sluice gates, resulting in a massive flood in Ernakulam, Idukki, Kottayam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha and Thrissur districts downstream.

As per the latest data, more than 40,000 hectares of farmland were submerged while 26,000 houses severely damaged with one of the state's three international airports at Kochi remaining closed for nearly two weeks. This is the first time in the history of Kerala that the entire state, including its highland, cities and lower plains have been inundated with floodwaters.

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However, people from across the country have come forward to support the state authorities in flood-hit areas in relief and rehabilitation initiatives.

As per the freshly released data, the donations to the chief minister’s distress relief fund (CMDRF) crossed Rs 1,000 crore on Wednesday. A total of Rs 1,026 crore has been credited to the account by 8 pm with as many as 4.17 lakh people contributing to the fund through online alone.

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