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Retd IAS officer criticises handling of Maha flood situation

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

A retired IAS officer from Maharashtra on Sunday blamed the lack of political will and "new bureaucratic culture" for the situation in flood-hit Kolhapur and Sangli districts going out of hands.

Speaking to a regional channel, Mahesh Zagade, former principle secretary, General Administration department, said, "First thing that has gone wrong was the administrative limitation to understand and quickly respond to the warnings issued by the Met department".

"There should have been enough political will to ensure that this new bureaucratic culture would not hinder the response time. We talk about relief and rehabilitation but nobody is talking about preventive measures," said Zagade, who was known for his no-nonsense approach during his tenure.

Massive floods had caused a largescale destruction and displacement of over four lakh people in Kolhapur and Sangli districts of Western Maharashtra in the last seven days.

The handling of the situation by the Maharashtra and neighbouring Karnataka governments has raised serious questions over dam management.

Zagade had served as collector of Nashik district during the 2005 deluge.

"With the warning of a heavy rainfall, I had initiated talks with the officials concerned and released water from dams in Nashik as a precautionary measure.

"It gave a breathing space when heavy downpour started in dam catchment areas and instead of water spreading across the banks and creating damage, it continued flowing further and avoided damage of properties and human lives," he recalled.

Zagade said there should have been precautionary discharge of water from the Almatti dam in the Krishna river in Karnataka after the Met department had issued a warning of extremely heavy rainfall.

"If both the state governments had coordinated and taken action in tandem, neither residents of Kolhapur and Sangli nor from Karnataka would have suffered from flood waters. We could have limited the possible damage," he said.

When asked about the next step, he said, "there should be action against those who failed to take preventive steps in such situation".

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, August 11 2019. 23:45 IST