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2018 floods: Govt knocks at HC door to reject amicus curiae’s report


Kochi: Kerala government has moved the state high court, seeking to reject the amicus curiae's report pointing out lapses in dam management that aggravated the impact of devastating floods in the state in August last year in which over 400 people died.

Except the finding that the reason for deluge was the extremely heavy rainfall between August 15 and August 17, all other causes were on the basis of assumptions not supported by scientific data. These assumptions were on the basis of material rejected or not accepted by the scientific world, the state government said in its affidavit filed in response to the report.

Referring to the study on the floods by the Central Water Commission that came out with supporting data, the government felt the CWC report negates any further need for a study.

Apart from this, the study by K P Sudhir of IIT-Madras points that the floods happened as 'an act of God', the government said.

It claimed the report of Vimal Mishra relied on by amicus curiae Jacob P Alex, to assist the court, was only an article rejected in peer review and thus not accepted for publication.

The same is the case with the article of Himanshu Thakkar, who is not a technical expert in the field and a renowned dam opponent, it said.

The government prayed the court to reject all the findings, conclusions and suggestions given by the amicus curiae except the attribution of extreme rainfall similar to the one in 1924 as a reason for the deluge.

Last month, the amicus curiae pointed out that lapses in dam management aggravated the impact of the floods which claimed over 400 lives besides causing widespread devastation.

The court-appointed advisor had also recommended that an inquiry be conducted by an expert committee headed by a former Supreme Court judge.

In the 49-page report, the amicus curiae said none of the 79 dams in the state were operated or used for the purpose of flood control or moderation, as per the stipulations under the National Water Policy, National Disaster Management Authority guidelines on floods and similar directives.

The report also recommended a detailed enquiry by an independent expert committee headed by a former Supreme Court judge and a hydrologist, dam management experts and engineers as members.

The amicus curiae was appointed based on a slew of petitions, including one submitted by 'Metro man' E Sreedharan, also the president of the Foundation for Restoration of National Values, alleging that the devastating floods was a man-made disaster.

According to the amicus curiae's report, dams in the state had not maintained effective flood control zone and the flood cushion, said to have been maintained, was not as mandated by the BIS report, RTIOR and Q&M Manuel.

Most of the major reservoirs were almost full before the heavy rainfall that occurred on 14-16 August, 2018 and they did not have the capacity to accommodate the additional flow generated by extreme rainfall, it said.

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