Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 30: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday said disastrous flood and rains have claimed 483 lives and 15 people are still missing.
Addressing a special one-day session of the Assembly to discuss the calamity, Vijayan stated that at the height of the floods, the worst to hit the state in a century, there were 14.50 lakh people in relief camps.
“The latest figure is there are 59,296 people in 305 relief camps. A total of 57,000 hectares of agriculture crops have been destroyed. An approximate estimate of the loss is more than the annual outlay of our state,” he asserted.
The Chief Minister also informed the Assembly that the Meteorological department gave out adequate warnings regarding the rains but the unprecedented showers caused the deluge in the southern state.
The predicted rains from August 9 to 15 were 98.5 mm but Kerala recieved 352.2 mm, Vijayan said.
Lashing out at the government, senior Congress legislator V.D. Sateeshan, whose constituency Paravur in Ernakulam district was submerged in flood and dam waters, described it “a man-made tragedy”.
“This is not a natural calamity, instead a man-made tragedy due to the faulty handling of the dam water management. Dams in the state were overflowing and the primary reason for this tragedy is the way the dam waters were indiscriminately let out,” he said at the special session of the Assembly
“Several dams was opened at midnight. The need of the hour is to fix responsibility and find out who all are responsible for this.”
Meanwhile, Former Minister Thomas Chandy who represents Kuttanadu in Alappuzha, asked Vijayan to release the Rs 10,000 that the state government had promised as interim relief to flood victims without delay.
K.M. Mani, a veteran opposition legislator, applauded the rescue efforts but said the tragedy could have been avoided had there been a proper dam management policy.
“Now that the tragedy is over, rehabilitation work has to take a systematic approach,” he said.
Mani added that money pouring into building a new Kerala should be collected in a separate account.
“We all know what happened when Ockhi struck and still there has been no proper accounting of the money which is kept in the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund. So we should have a separate account.