KOCHI: The worst fears of the ruling Left Front, which faces a tricky election, have come true with the Amicus Curiae appointed by the Kerala High Court to assist it to look into last year’s floods saying on Wednesday that the sudden release of water from the dams worsened the situation in the state. Opposition UDF has pounced on it and made it an election issue, and demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Electricity Minister MM Mani.
In the 44-page report submitted before the Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy, Amicus Curiae Jacob D Alex suggested the appointment of an independent expert inquiry committee headed by a former Supreme Court judge to find the cause of the floods and the factors that led to or aggravated the damage.
After the massive mid-August flood – the biggest in a century which claimed 433 lives – the Opposition had demanded a judicial probe to find its cause, saying it is a manmade disaster. Pinarayi had dismissed the allegation as baseless and explained that dams were opened after alerting everyone well in advance.
“The report by the Amicus Curiae proves our point that the government’s dam mismanagement and lack of vigil led to the floods,” said Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala. The government ignored the warnings on heavy rains. Precautions prescribed by the Central Water Commission were not taken while opening the dam shutters. There were serious flaws in dam management,” he said.
The High Court had appointed the Amicus Curiae following a batch of petitions, including the one by Metro Man E Sreedharan, alleging the deluge and damage were indeed a ‘manmade disaster’.