The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has picked holes in the flood management of the Kerala government, saying the flood plains in the state are yet to be demarcated and that the flood plain zoning law in the state is yet to be enacted. The authorities had failed to issue precautionary alerts or warnings when the deluge had wreaked havoc in Kerala in 2018, the CAG said in its latest report. "The Kerala State Water Policy 2008 was not updated in accordance with the National Water Policy and lacked provisions for flood control and flood management in the state," the CAG said in the report titled "Preparedness and Response to floods in Kerala" which was tabled in the state Assembly on Thursday, November 11.
Pointing to the lack of a large-scale flood hazard map in the state, the agency said that Kerala's Disaster Management Plan includes a flood susceptibility map that does not conform to the Central Water Commission (CWC) criteria for flood prone areas. Only six rain gauges against the requirement of 32 were available for rainfall estimation in Periyar basin by IMA, it detailed.
The CAG also found that projects for obtaining real time data on rainfall, stream-flow etc. did not deliver reliable data on a real time basis, even after a lapse of five years. "Communication infrastructure was non-functional in some areas including dam sites and government offices during or subsequent to the 2018 floods," it said.
Though 7,112 works for immediate repair and restoration of damages in the 2018 floods were approved for execution under the State Disaster Response Fund, 18% of the works were yet to be completed even after a lapse of two years and eight months, the report added.
Meanwhile, the CAG's Finance audit report, also tabled in the Assembly, said that the state did not achieve any of the targets fixed in the Medium Term Fiscal Plan. "The overall debt as a percentage of GSDP for 2019-20 increased from 31.05% to 32.07%," it added. Revenue receipts of the state increased from Rs 69,033 crore in 2015-16 to 90,225 crore in 2019-20, recording a growth of 31 per cent during the last five years.
The CAG also criticised the state government's off-budget borrowing through the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) and the Kerala Social Security Pension Limited.