Small mistakes by officials in Kerala caused the disaster, says Environmentalists

Kerala has been experiencing heavy downpour since early August. Things had gone from bad to worse when the rainfall and the flashflood paralyzed almost the entire state people’s normal lives. The statewide floods hasn’t been of this level in 90 years led to 147 lives and damage to property.

According to the officials, in the past one week, more than 53,000 people have been moved to 439 relief camps across the state. Around 143,220 people have been living in 1,790 relief camps all through this year’s monsoon, in which the state has received an unusually high amount of rainfall.

Credits: Times Of India Screengrab

In a press release, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said: “As per the primary assessment, the state has incurred a loss of Rs 8,316 crore (Rs 83 billion). Kerala is facing its worst flood in history after 1924. Ten out of 14 districts were badly affected. Twenty-seven dams in the state were opened due to water rise. Thirty-seven people died in just four days. There were mudslides and landslides in 211 different places across the state.”

Environmentalists had pin-pointed at poor policy decisions for the disaster. Stressing the reasons to various regional media, Madhav Gadgil has said that “irresponsible environmental policy” is to blame for the flash floods and landslides in Kerala. He also termed it a “manmade calamity”.

In 2011, The Gadgil Committee had already suggested that 140,000 kilometres of the Western Ghats to be classified in 3 different zones according to the requirement of environmental protection in the areas. But the Kerala government turned down the recommendations suggested by the Gadgil committee.

The dam safety officials released water in one shot and caused the flash flood in nearby areas. Even the Meteorological Department had already warned them of heavy downpour and that they should not let the dam overflow.

As they say, there is always a better way of dealing with situations, they could have easily released the water below the line which could have minimised the possibilities of a disaster. The same disaster happened in Uttar Pradesh last year and the government officials are only receiving salaries.

For what the officials get paid? Is it not their prime responsibility to be alert? Why is this happening in all other states? What do you think about this? Tell us in the comments section.

Hailing from Chennai, Chaithanya G is the Managing Director of TheYouth. He has dedicated his whole life to reading and writing.