BS Yediyurappa conducts aerial survey
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa conducts aerial survey of flood hit Bagalkot in Karnataka on Aug 9, 2019IANS

With the flood situation in the state continuing to remain grim, the Congress on Friday demanded booking Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and his Karnataka counterpart BS Yediyurappa for 'culpable homicide' and under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

Senior Congress leader Nana Patole accused both Fadnavis and Yediyurappa of failing to ensure that water was discharged in time from the Almatti Dam in Karnataka which could have prevented the flood situation in Maharashtra from worsening and help save precious lives.

"As public servants, both the CMs have failed in discharging their duties and hence they should be booked because human lives have been lost," Patole said, referring to the 37 deaths caused in Maharashtra due to the floods in Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur and Pune.

He continued: "Had the Maharashtra CM taken up the issue of releasing Almatti Dam water well in time with the Karnataka CM, the flood situation in Maharashtra would not have been so severe, nor would so many lives be lost and lakhs displaced."

Referring to Fadnavis' statement that "a national calamity" would be declared at the appropriate time, Patole countered that even after viewing the colossal tragedy and loss of lives with his own eyes, "what moment is the CM waiting for to declare this as a national crisis?"

The Congress also plans to consider legal options in this regard, hinted Patole, who is also the chief of the state Congress' Campaign Committee

Answering a query, Patole said that "there is no point asking for their (CMs') resignations... They will not (quit)... They love to stick to power."

He claimed that the protocols between the two neighbouring states over the Almatti Dam water discharge were not followed though the India Metrological Department (IMD) had forecast heavy rains well in advance.

"There were heavy rains in Maharashtra, the Koyna Dam (in Satara) was full and water was released, but not from the Almatti Dam (in Karnataka) as was required and should have been done," Patole pointed out.

It may be recalled here that Fadnavis had spoken thrice with Yediyurappa on the issue this week, seeking the release of at least 500,000 cusecs water from the Almatti Dam, besides discussing the matter with Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

Besides Patole, other parties such as the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Shiv Sena too have questioned the alleged delays in this matter.

Sena President Uddhav Thackeray said that if Karnataka had discharged water from the Almatti Dam at least 2-3 days earlier, the situation would not have come to such a stage as it did in south-west Maharashtra.

On its part, the Karnataka government said that the release of water from the Koyna Dam was creating an alarming flood-like situation in Belgaum, Vijayapure, Raichur, Kalburgi and Yadgir in the southern state.

However, on Friday afternoon, Yediyurappa informed Fadnavis that around 450,000 cusecs of water have already been discharged from the Almatti Dam which is now expected to ease the flood woes in Maharashtra.