Kerala floods: Congress demands judicial probe into opening of dam shutters

Kottayam, Aug 23: M.M. Hassan, President of the Congress party in Kerala, on Thursday demanded a judicial probe into what he said was the indiscriminate opening of sluice gates of dams across the state leading to devastating floods.

On Wednesday, Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala had accused the Kerala government of being careless and said the flood tragedy, the worst in nearly a century, was man-made.

“Chennithala was only making a point that in future there should be a proper management policy for all this. Now, even people in the state are saying there was no proper management of the dam waters. So the government should order a judicial probe,” said Hassan.

Kerala has 82 dams, of which 42 are major ones.

Senior Congress legislator and former Idukki Lok Sabha member P.T. Thomas said the greed of Power Minister M.M. Mani to generate electricity and sell it was responsible for the tragedy.

“He was basking in glory when the big dams in Idukki were full… He should have come out with a proper dam water management strategy but he did not do anything,” said Thomas.

Mani dismissed the charges as baseless.

“There were several rounds of planning and discussion at various levels including a meeting chaired by the Chief Minister where every aspect was discussed. We did issue alerts and we did everything we could do,” he said.

The floods have killed some 370 people — since the monsoon rains began on May 29 — and caused widespread destruction, forcing more than one million people to take shelter in relief camps.

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