Holding Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik responsible for the devastating flood in Orissa, Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday said almost half of the state was submerged by the Mahanadi river system due to "mismanagement of water" at Hirakud reservoir, bringing miseries to lakhs of people.
"It is the chief minister, also in charge of water resources and irrigation, who was responsible for imposing a severe flood on lakhs of people. The government failed to maintain proper water level at Hirakud dam," senior BJP leader Bijoy Mohapatra told reporters.
Accusing the state government of ignoring forecast by meteorological department and satellite observations about heavy rains, he sought to know as to why the water level in Hirakud was kept at 624 feet, five feet above the prescribed height, on September 1 in violation of norms.
"The flood-ravaged people want to know as to why water was not released from Hirakud dam in time and who decided to keep reservoir level at 624 feet instead of 619 feet," the former minister said.
Stating that Chhattisgarh government had also given information about heavy rains in upper catchment of river Mahanadi, Mohapatra asked the chief minister to make public the inputs provided to Orissa's irrigation department by the neighbouring state ahead of the floods.
Slamming the chief minister, the BJP leader said since Patnaik was in the habit of holding frequent review meetings he should disclose whether the issue of flood was discussed at the collectors' conference held before the calamity struck.
The BJP leader alleged that conditions for the flood were created deliberately with a "motive" to store water for the industries.
Now after causing the floods, the government has failed to undertake relief operation for the marooned people, Mohapatra claimed adding no relief team had been sent to many areas despite tall claims by officials.
Though the government claims to have opened over 270 free kitchens, not a single kitchen and relief centre is seen in most of the badly affected areas in Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur districts, he claimed.