Probe into water release from Ukai dam

Special Correspondent

The discharge of 12 lakh cusecs of water had resulted in the flooding of Surat city

GANDHINAGAR: The Gujarat Government has appointed a judicial inquiry commission to enquire into the steps taken by the authorities concerned in releasing water from the Ukai dam which flooded Surat city last week.

The commission would be constituted by the retired judge of the Gujarat High Court, Sugnaben Bhatt, and he would be assisted by retired secretary of the Narmada department, R.D. Soni, who also was the director of irrigation canals in the State.

The commission has been given time till December 31, 2006 to submit its report.

The decision to constitute the commission was taken by a high-level committee, which met here on Thursday under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Narendra Modi. The decision was taken in view of the allegations from the Opposition as well as from within a section of the ruling BJP holding the State Government responsible for the "man-made" floods.

Many experts believed that the Government and the officials managing the Ukai dam should have planned the release of water in advance in view of the rainfall in its upper catchment areas in Maharashtra.

It was also alleged that the Government was advised to start releasing water from the dam from the first week of the month in view of the full moon day falling on August 9. With the discharge of over 12 lakh cusecs of water from the dam coinciding with the full moon day, many parts of Surat remained under 15 to 20 feet of water for over four days.

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