Gargi Parsai

"Mismanagement of large reservoirs created this monsoon's disasters"

  • Central Water Commission, National Disaster Management Authority criticised for failing to prevent floods
  • Probe into high pre-monsoon storages, downstream releases demanded
  • Surat floods resulted from sheer mismanagement by Ukai dam authorities

    NEW DELHI: At a meeting on flash floods and dams organised by Intercultural Resources in collaboration with South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP) on Tuesday, water experts have demanded an independent inquiry into whether the flash floods that ravaged parts of northern and western India were "man-made" and could have been avoided with optimal operation of large dams.

    They urged the setting up of a National Commission on Drainage, as the primary issue from the agriculture point of view was of drainage and not floods.

    Criticising the "failure" of the Central Water Commission and the National Disaster Management Authority in pre-empting and preventing floods that caused large-scale loss of lives, livestock and property, the participants demanded an independent inquiry on the issue of flash floods, particularly those due to sudden downstream releases from dams. They also demanded investigation into high pre-monsoon storages and the downstream releases, apart from a review of the dam operation rules. As recommended by the National Flood Commission (1980), States must review dam operations and revision of flood cushion provisions in a transparent manner, they said here.

    The meeting alleged that mismanagement and negligent operations of the large reservoirs on Tapi, Narmada, Krishna, Godavari, Mahi and Sabarmati rivers created man-made disasters in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh this monsoon.