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Dr George Joseph Themplangad. MBBS, MBA
Friday 24 Aug 2018 03.25 PM

Is this a Natural or a man made CALAMITY ?

uploads/news/2018/08/243205/floods.jpg

The above question has only one answer as far as I am concerned. Millions of people who know the facts and circumstances too, will vouch for it. It is Manmade a disaster. This does not leave out majority of our population – namely females in Kerala. By all means, some responsibility for the calamity they too share and it is a man / woman made disaster. The bulk of the responsibility lies with men – given that they are the powers that be, ministers, IAS folks, MLA’s, MP’s, IPS, bishops, are male dominated by a ratio of 3 to 1 or more, and in at least one group it’s a 100% male only club. This unevenr distribution of power, is unhealthy, unwise and brings disaster, as we shall see soon in this article.

Speaking of power - two things come to mind in the current scenario. One is authority, as in political power, other being electricity. When the two gets combined, it becomes explosive, egoistical, deadly and disaster causing as we have seen in this so called floods - which are a failure of management – governance of the worst kind, Kerala has seen in a century.

Let me elaborate one by one... reasons for this artificial floods as I call it.

1. No warning was given before the Sabari – Kalkki – Pamba Dam system was unleashed without any warning at night of 14 th August, eve of India’s independence day 2018. As people slept in their homes or the roadside, as many poor do in Kerala – sabotage if I may say – when it seems that a Dhawood Ibrahim kind of person or other enemy of The State from outside the boundaries of India has colluded or managed to manage the culprits who have allowed such a horror to happen. Result was on 15 th August instead of hoisting the national flag and celebrating, we had people in Ranni, Pathanamthitta, Pandalam, Kuttanad doing a dance for their lives, hoisting their night gowns with cries of red alert as flood waters took them by surprise. This as opposed to the statements from authorities that no opening of dams would be done at nights, as well as that there would be warnings, to evacuate, with time and facilitation to do so. Who let the water out, pray tell ? Like the song who let the dogs out ?

2. The quantity of water let out from Sabiri – Kalkki – Pamba dam system was greater than the quantity let out at the same time or days from Iddukki dam, a bigger system. A very huge quantity of water and that too, at the still of night, like a terrorist - the waters came in to their bedrooms, killing many. Who authorised and allowed such a disaster to happen ? What if any were the norms, procedures, objectives, remedies and preparations that ought to have been in place and was obviously ignored ? Who will take the responsibility and who will be the first IAS officer to take moral responsibility to resign as it would have been, if this happened in Japan ?

3. Before the International Airport at Kochi was constructed it must have at least a 150 page document that would have studied the drainage and flood possibilities which would have included the Idukki Dam and its water, be it on opening the shutters or a breach. What are the guidelines that exist ? Certainly a test run and concurrence from airport authority would be one of the safety measures. Why were these not followed ? Who was and is manning the controls and what is he smoking or drinking ? Will a Minister take the moral responsibility and resign, please ?

4. As of 19 th night of August 2019, I am given to understand the water level of Vembanad lake to which 5 of the major rivers from these damn dams drain, was 1 . 2 Mtrs above sea level. Yes, think about it, Mr Minister, Mr IAS, Mr Water authority – how on earth will water drain
out to Arabian sea or Indian Ocean when the level of the lake is 3 feet above sea level , and you keep pumping more water into the lake ?

5. Kuttanad by virtue of its below sea level nature, has a bund system with the second, third or fourth stages of these bund or embankments stuck in prehistoric a nature in a state of utter disgrace. The minister for water Mr Mathew T Thomas is said to have instructed a month
ago – for removal of obstructions at the lake – kuttanad water interspaces, and no action was taken .. Why ? Why Not ? Who is responsible? Will he or her resign or be brought to book ? Is there accountability or do we have to go to courts ?

6. A second, third and fourth phases to the dams of Kerala must be existing, such as maintenance of shutters, building drainage pipes to pipe water to safe locations when discharged so as to NOT cause overflow from rivers. Yet these have not been done. Pipes to send water to Tamil Nadu and Karnataka that has no water in many places will yield Kerala Rs 7,000 a year if we construct a system of pipes as it already exists in the case of Mullaperiyar, this time around in a tunnel system to take cars, buses, trains say from Mundakkayam to Cumbum or Sabarimala to anywhere on the eastern side of The Western Ghats. Today such tunnel equipments exist and no environmental damage will occur as no trees be cut. Lets learn from China, Switzerland, Japan. Water sale alone will give the capital to build this new transportation system that will cut travel time to Bangalore or Chennai by 5 hours for most of South keralites.

7. Why is it that Kerala Government has not accepted the offer of the Tamil Nadu Government for 50 % of the electricity generated from water from Mullaperiyar – as mentioned clearly in Justice K T Thomas’s book, Vaidyan Chikilsikkunnu, Daivam Saukhyamikkunnu, published by DC Books, that was published last year. Kerala’s leadership is said to have refused to accept the offer – as that would make the battle in courts moot. How sad. Both UDf and LDF have taken a por attitude to the matter with Tamil Nadu.

8. The battle in courts, namely at Supreme Court is relevant, even as the CJI of India instructed the 2 states last week in the midst of this calamity to have common sense and to not be opportunistic at such times of a calamity of such proportions. The question, that I cannot fail
to raise is – was the floods caused to help get a favourable verdict in SC on Mullaperiyar ?

9. Even if this is a matter of failure to manage a situation wisely, the question of motive or who and what does not go away. A white paper both in parliament and in the legislature within 30 days is the need of the hour. The Chief Minister who failed to show leadership during the Ochi episode continues to hold the home portfolio. It is a situation that needs a person of the fair sex to come forward to solve. Let us have a female home minister for a change. Well, that may also have to be from the public, a person of competency than a political party person. Thats the call of the hour.

10. People of Kerala, they say are literate, educated, informed. If this is true, they would read books like Mullaperiyar Dam – Chila Velipeduthalukal by Justice K T Thomas, published by D C Books and Pambhanadi, Paristhithyum samskaravum by Dr R Girish Kumar, published by Kerala Bhasha Institue. Two books I have been able to identify on related subject matter.

11. What was shocking for me is that there were not any books at 2 of the major bookstores in Kerala as I went searching, on rivers of Kerala, dams of Kerala or about our electricity generation. Such is our subjest index & matters as to books being sold or available in bookstores. Pulp fiction and political propaganda books are in plenty at these stores. Facts on life and death life situation causing subjects such as disaster from possible floods or such matters in Kerala ... authors speak not, publishers publish not, media write not, people dare not speak of or question !! .... such is life in God’s own country Hell – that Kerala has become, due to our failed leaders on both sides of the political divide. Coupled with the politicised horrendous bureaucracy we have, wherein meritocracy is seldom practised. The good ones get booted out or not promoted... and the froth rises to the top...unfortunately.

12. This is not a criticism as it is an observation. We need answers. We need to ask questions in a democracy, if we are to survive. Our garbage issues are beyond remedy and we must act as we lie on this deathbed in Kerala NOW. My suggestions for a revival of Kerala, includes using Indian railways and railway stations to stimulate our economy in Kerala as well as provide rehabilitation and waste hauling methodologies comparable to the best in the world. My efforts to bring Green toilets, on trains in India - the railway system - is a success because Indian Railway and Indian Government has been wise to act on the problem. They have done a commendable job. May Mahabali who is to visit us soon, give us at this Onam, the courage to clean up, and become again good, honest, wise, progressive people once again. We must all become closer to The Divine, seeking truth and justice, seeking wisdom and grace, becoming honest patriotic and concerned
citizens. Fellow Keralites, please get off the comfort zones you hide in and come out in the open, speaking up, making a difference for the better. This is our one and only chance. Last one. Wake up please.

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Dr George Joseph Themplangad. MBBS, MBA
Friday 24 Aug 2018 03.25 PM
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