Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the state Assembly on Thursday that a total of 483 people died in rain-related incidents this monsoon and 14 people were reported to be still missing.
The chief minister was speaking at the special Assembly session convened to discuss the relief and rehabilitation measures to cope with the state’s devastating floods.
Vijayan said the losses due to the floods and landslides were more than the state’s annual plan, which was pegged at Rs 26,500 crore in 2017-18 fiscal year.
During his speech, Vijayan saluted the people who helped in the rescue operation.
“The rescue operations which took place at the height of the monsoon are without comparison. To all those who sacrificed their lives to help others, who took brave and daring steps to rescue one another, we want to offer a big salute,” the chief minister said in his speech.
“The latest figure is there are 59,296 people in 305 relief camps. A total of 57,000 hectares of agriculture crops have been destroyed. An approximate estimate of the loss is more than the annual outlay of our state. The rescue operations are over, rehabilitation measures are continuing and rebuilding of the state is left,” he added.
The CM said the India Meteorological Department gave out adequate warnings regarding the rains but the unprecedented showers led to a deluge.
The predicted rains from August 9 to 15 were 98.5 mm but the state got 352.2 mm, he said.
Hitting hard at the government, senior Congress legislator VD Sateeshan, whose constituency Paravur in Ernakulam district was submerged in flood and dam waters, called it “a man-made tragedy”.
“This is not a natural calamity, instead a man-made tragedy due to the faulty handling of the dam water management. Dams in the state were overflowing and the primary reason for this tragedy is the way the dam waters were indiscriminately let out,” he said.
“Several dams was opened at midnight. The need of the hour is to fix responsibility and find out who all are responsible for this.”
Thomas Chandy, a former Minister who represents Kuttanadu in Alappuzha, one of the worst hit districts, asked Vijayan to release without delay the Rs 10,000 that the government had promised as interim relief to every family.
KM Mani, a veteran opposition legislator, applauded the rescue efforts but said the tragedy could have been avoided had there been a proper dam management policy.