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Governor calls off Kilinochchi flooding probe

The Northern Province's governor, Reginald Cooray has faced criticism after he called off a probe into reports of negligence causing flooding in Kilinochchi.

The probe, which was to be headed by Professor S Sivakumar of the University of Jaffna's Engineering Faculty, was set up amid reports Iranamadu tank was allowed to overfill before all the sluice gates were opened at once.  

Speaking to the Sunday Times, Sivakumar said he was surprised when the governor called off the probe within 30 minutes of its planning meeting. 

“However, about 30 minutes after the meeting ended, I got a call from the Governor’s Secretary telling me not to proceed with the inquiry until further notice. There has been no official communication from the Governor’s office since then,” Sivakumar was quoted by the paper as saying. 

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Locals had criticised government officials for allowing such a situation, pointing out that the damage was caused by the large body of water being allowed out at one time, and that residents were not warned the gates were to be opened. 

"When the area was under LTTE control, they would send a man to Mankulam with a walkie-talkie,” he recalled. “If the flood level was increasing in the Mankulam area, he would inform those at the Iranamadu tank. Then they would open the gates one by one," a retired irrigation engineer previously told the paper. 

More than 120,000 people were affected across the Vanni area due to the floods, according to data released by the government’s Disaster Management Centre (DMC).