Met had issued ‘warnings, Ukd govt says not

Dehradun: The blame game over Uttarakhand deluge escalated with the Meteorological department on Sunday saying it had issued "timely" warnings of heavy rains and landslides but the state government claimed these were not "specific".
 
The assertions by the MeT department and the state government, two weeks after heavy rains triggered floods and landslides that ravaged Uttarakhand, came amid questions whether the administration ignored the warnings and whether large-scale deaths in the hill state could have been averted.
 
The state government claimed there was no sufficient prior indication of a "crisis of this magnitude".
 
Uttarkhand's MeT department Director Anand Sharma said they had issued advisories from June 14 for the next couple of days and even suggested that the Char Dham 'yatra' of the holy towns of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri and Gangotri be postponed for 4-5 days.
 
"From 14th, we had started giving the heavy rainfall warning….For 15th we had issued warning for very heavy rains … and we also said if you could postpone the yatra for 4-5 days…. And 16th, we said heavy to very heavy rainfall and specifically highlighted the regions….," he said.
 
Uttarakhand Chief Secretary Subash Kumar, however, sought to contest the MeT official's remarks.
 
"I have been observing this since the last 10 to 15 years. They(MeT officials) always claim that it will rain heavily…But the intensity of the rain we had this time, we had no such specific warnings.
 
They had not asked to put the 'yatra' on hold. They had simply forecast about heavy rains," he added.
 
Sharma said the warnings cannot be specific.
 
"Our warnings cannot be so specific. Heavy to very heavy rains coupled with landslides at places is not enough to suggest that there is going to be crisis of this magnitude," he said.
 
On the causes of the massive scale of loss of human life and property in disaster, Sharma said it can happen despite MeT department warnings..
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