Stepping up the campaign against the AIADMK government for its alleged failure to release the water from Chembarambakkam lake on time, which led to flooding in Chennai, DMK leader M. Karunanidhi on Friday submitted a memorandum to Governor Rosaiah seeking an inquiry into the incident by a sitting judge of the Madras High Court.
Later, the DMK president told journalists that the Governor had agreed to go through the memorandum and take appropriate action after consulting the department concerned.
In the memorandum, Mr. Karunanidhi alleged that despite the forecast and timely warnings from experts about the capacity of Chembarambakkam reservoir, PWD officials had not taken precautionary steps to gradually let out water to accommodate the incoming water.
“The PWD department ought to have prepared the lake to receive such a heavy inflow after international forecast and the Meteorological department warning that 500 mm rain would be received on December 1 and 2,” he said.
Mr. Karunanidhi said the sluice gates were opened belatedly and over 33,500 cusecs was released into Adyar river, which was already overflowing, causing inundation of major parts of the city.
The DMK leader’s argument was that even though PWD officials had apprised the Chief Secretary of the impending danger, he and his band of officials were waiting for the Chief Minister’s advisor to inform her about the need to release the water.
Only when the lake was overflowing beyond its storage capacity and there was a possible danger of the lake being breached, the Chief Minister issued the order for releasing the water.
“What is more shocking is the failure of the Police department to warn the local people. There was no coordination between the PWD, Revenue and Police officials. As a result, the entire city and its suburbs have been put to untold hardships and sufferings,” he alleged.
The DMK leader also made a strong case for desilting Chembarambakkam lake and Adyar river, saying a huge deposit of sediments in the mouth of Adyar blocked the flow of water into the sea.
“Neither the Chembarambakkam lake nor the Adyar was desilted and deepened for the last four-and-a-half years and it has created the man-made calamity,” he alleged. Mr. Karunanidhi also brought to the notice of the Governor the loss of life, crops and property in Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram, Cuddalore, Tuticorin, Tirunelveli and the Cauvery delta districts.