The CM said that a trial run was set to take place in Idukki when the Idamalayar dam hit full reservoir level and had to be opened instead.

Congress accusation that all dams were opened simultaneously baseless Kerala CM
news Kerala floods Wednesday, August 22, 2018 - 19:48

Hours after Kerala Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala’s blistering attack on the state government, calling the worst floods the state witnessed in a century a ‘man-made disaster’, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan responded to the charges in a press conference on Wednesday.

"Had he enquired with the officials and journalists, the opposition leader would not have had to ask this," he said, countering Chennithala’s ‘dam mismanagement’ charge.

The Chief Minister said that in the case of the Idamalayar dam in Ernakulam, the blue alert was given on July 25, the orange alert on August 1, and the red alert on August 8. These are official records, and had received media attention, he said. 

“Dams are never opened without an alert. In July second week, reservoirs were full. In July third week, dams were opened. It was announced that the dams will be opened in a phased manner,” Pinarayi Vijayan said. 

He added, “After the rivers overflowed, residents along the rivers were warned and asked to move. We avoided opening the gates of Idukki and Idamalayar dam together since it would have caused major flooding.” 

Dismissing Chennithala’s allegation that the dams were opened at night when people were asleep, Pinarayi Vijayan said that the shutters were only opened in the morning. 

He also countered Ramesh Chennithala’s allegations that 44 dams were opened together, with the Chief Minister stating that they had to open some dams at the same time due to the increased intensity of the rains. 

“When the reservoir is full, there is no option but to release it,” he said.

He also stated that they had successfully avoided opening the Idukki and Idamalayar dams together would have worsened the situation. 

Drawing parallels to the 2013 southwest monsoon in Kerala, the Opposition Leader had argued that the floods were effectively managed by the then Oommen Chandy-led government which had foreseen the rains and opened the smaller dams instead of the Idukki dam to extent risk of flooding. 

To this Pinarayi Vijayan said that the 2013 rains were normal in comparison to what the state witnessed this year. 

“Despite some dams reaching FRL in 2013, there was no requirement to open the sluice gates as the state received much lesser rainfall at the time,” he said. 

He added that whenever alerts were issued, officials responsible were prompt in updating the media and immediate action was also taken to alert and evacuate people living near the dam,” he said. 

Responding to Chennithala’s accusation that there was a delay in opening the shutters of the Idukki dam despite water levels reaching 2397 ft, the CM said that all arrangements had been made to open the shutters on a trial run basis. However, the CM added due to excessive rainfall the Idamalayar dam had to opened before the Idukki dam and opening both simultaneously would cause massive losses.

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