Orissa attributes climate change for floods

Orissa government held that the climate change phenomenon as responsible for the back to back floods in the state which killed at least 87 people.

Last Updated: Dec 23, 2011, 00:01 AM IST

Bhubaneswar: With the Orissa government
holding the climate change phenomenon as responsible for the
back to back floods in the state which killed at least 87
people, opposition Congress on Thursday walked out of the assembly
terming the calamity as "man-made."

"The flood in the state was an impact of the climate
change at global level. The change is certainly man made and
not the flood," Revenue and Disaster Management Minister S N
Patro told the assembly to an adjournment debate here.

Rejecting the opposition allegation, the minister said
the successive floods during the month of September was due to
the impact of a low pressure. Though there was inadequate
rainfall in the state during the month of July and August, all
of a sudden the state experienced heavy downpour due to a low
pressure.
The heavy rainfall at upper catachment areas of the
river in Chhattishgarh and Jharkhand region flooded Mahanadi
river system, the minister said claiming that there was no
mismanagement of flood waters in Hirakud dam.

"Keeping in view the safety of the Dam, 59 gates of
Hirakud were opened to discharge excess water which led to a
devastating flood in Mahanadi delta region," he said.

Similarly, another low pressure-induced rainfall also
caused heavy second spell of flood in the rivers of
Subarnarekha, Baitarani and Brahmani, the minister said.

The opposition Congress, however, termed the September
floods as `man-made` and blamed it on the state government.

"The flood is manmade as the government failed to
manage the flood water despite having a reservoir at Hirakud,"
Congress Chief Whip Prasad Harichandan said adding that the
state government created the floods keeping a view on the
ensuing panchayat polls.
Claiming the 2008 floods had paid rich dividend to the
ruling BJD in the subsequent general elections in 2009,
Harichandan said, "the govenrment created the floods in
September to woo people by distributing relief."

Leader of opposition Bhupinder Singh of Congress also
claimed that the state government had admitted on October 29
that it created the floods. "Over the years we have created
and managed many disasters," Singh said quoting Chief Minister
Naveen Patnaik.

Though the Chief Minister`s Office (CMO) had
subequently clarified that it was a slip of tongue of the
Patnaik, Singh said "we have not seen the government denying
the CM`s statement to television channels."

BJP member Jaynarayan Mishra also termed the September
floods as "man-made."We claim that the flood is man made as
the government did not take any preventive measures to avoid
such a flood," Mishra said.

Accusing the Centre of having indifferent attitude,
the ruling BJD members pointed out that the state was yet to
get any assistance even as a central team visited the flood
affected areas.

Besides, the chief minister had also taken up the
matter relating to flood assiatnce with Union Home Minister P
Chidambaram and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar.
Though the state government had demanded an assistance
of Rs 3265.38 crore for the twin floods, it was yet to receive
any assistance from the Centre, the minister said.

PTI