CHENNAI: A PIL has been filed in Madras High Court seeking an inquiry into alleged "delayed announcement" of excess water release from Chembarabakkam dam that caused floods and action against officials, including their prosecution on man slaughter charges.
In the petition, Rajiv Rai sought a direction to appoint a High Powered Committee headed by a retired judge of Supereme Court or Madras High Court and comprising government officials, technical persons, senior lawyers, scientists and environmentalists, to study various events which led to the flooding.
When the counsel for the petitioner submitted that the court had already taken suo motu action on the matter, the first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana directed that both the cases would be taken up tomorrow.
Rajiv Rai contended that the state government officials were responsible for "delayed" announcement for the release of the excess water from the reservoir they be tried for man slaughter.
He submitted that if one studied the levels of water in various catchment tanks on a daily basis, one could see that the reservoirs had much greater inflows than outflows right through November 2015.
"Some Standard Operating Procedure ought to have been in place, whereby water was let off from Chembarambakkam and other reservoirs in stages and not held back till the fateful night of December 1, 2015."
Referring to government's statement that the outflow from Chembarabakkam was 39,000 cusecs, the highest in the history of Tamil Nadu, he alleged that the announcement of release of excess water was made at midnight and residents or the nearby people were unaware of it as they were asleep.
"This court should form an independent committee to investigate this matter and punish the officials for failing to perform their duty, as it amounted to nothing short of man slaughter," the petitioner said.