Kerala

Blame game over floods plays out again in Kerala

Aruvikkara reservoir near Thiruvananthapuram. | File  

A repeat of the blame game that dominated the 2018 and 2019 post-flood political debate appears to be playing out in the State again.

Revenue Minister K. Rajan has purportedly slammed the India Meteorological Department for “inaccurate” weather information. When contacted, Mr. Rajan’s office said the Minister had merely pointed out that Kottayam which the IMD had put under the green category bore the brunt of the rain havoc.

The United Democratic Front views Mr. Rajan’s targetting of the IMD as an attempt to shift blame for the Government’s “tardy response” to the catastrophe. Despite the administration’s attempt to showcase a forceful response to the disaster, the Opposition appears poised to put the Government in the dock in the Assembly over its “shoddy” flood response.

Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan has said pointedly in Kannur: “The Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) is a disaster in itself. It has failed the people three years in a row.”

The SDMA had on October 8 received a warning that the low pressure area over the Arabian Sea would make a landfall over Kochi and Kozhikode. “Its response was belated and, at best, knee-jerk.” Mr. Satheesan says said nothing has come of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s visit to the Netherlands to study flood mitigation.

Mr. Satheesan finds an unlikely ally in his criticism of the Government in Left fellow traveller Cherian Philip. In a Facebook post, Mr. Philip tacks a similar line that seems an oblique criticism of Mr. Vijayan. “Nothing came of the visit to study the Netherland model of flood mitigation. Nobody knows of any follow-up action. Visiting relief camps, shedding tears for the displaced and penning laments for the dead alone won’t help,” Mr. Philip adds.

The rain havoc has given the UDF additional impetus to mount a widespread campaign against the semi-high-speed SilverLine rail project. It has campaigned that the 300-km railway embankment for the semi-high speed railway would act as a barrier to natural drainage and exacerbate the intensity of floods and landslips.

The LDF reportedly feels the UDF allegation that the Government is “missing in action” during the floods would find no traction. It believes the Government's “upfront role” during the floods, and its social welfare track record would help the ruling front easily deflect the Opposition criticism.


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Printable version | Dec 8, 2021 10:27:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/blame-game-over-floods-plays-out-again-in-kerala/article37078226.ece

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