CHENNAI: Strongly denying reports in certain sections of the media that the recent flooding in the Adyar river was the result of improper management of water releases from Chembarambakkam tank, Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary K Gnanadesikan on Sunday said the flooding was a rarest of rare natural calamity.
He also rejected allegations that the engineers at Chembarambakkam lake were waiting for instructions from the Principal Secretary, Public Works Department and the Chief Secretary and the imputation that the officers were awaiting clearance from Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and described such charges as “malicious and canards”. No specific instructions or orders are required nor were they sought from the
Principal Secretary, Public Works Department or the Chief Secretary regarding surplus releases from the Chembarambakkam Tank.
The Assistant Engineer in charge of tank, who is the Controlling Officer of the Reservoir is the competent authority under the Rules for Flood Regulation to regulate flood discharge, he clarified.
Based on the field situation, the engineers on the spot increased the outflow from 10,000 cusecs at 10 am to 12,000 cusecs at 12 noon and 20,960 cusecs from 2 pm in the afternoon. This outflow was further increased to 25,000 cusecs at 5 pm and 29,000 cusecs at 6 pm based on the inflows and maintained at that level till 3 pm the next day after which it was reduced gradually. It is thus abundantly clear that the engineers present at the Chembarambakkam tank site had taken the required decision based on the inflow into the reservoir.
“The engineers in charge of the tank closely monitored the inflows and the rainfall in the upstream catchment area and accordingly regulated the discharge from the Tank for the purpose of ensuring the safety of the Tank”, the Chief Secretary said.
Defending the engineers, he said: “As per the Rules for Flood Regulation of the Compendium of Rules of Regulation, the level of the water reservoirs requires to be maintained at 2 feet below Full Tank Level while the monsoon is still active. The Rules for Flood Regulation of the Compendium of Rules of Regulation of the Public Works Department balance the interests of water storage for the scarcity period, the need to control flooding in downstream areas and the safety of the reservoir.”