In 2015, Kerala had received 74 percent rainfall and witnessed a 26 percent deficit in southwest monsoon

Is Kerala ready to face the brunt of the surplus rainfallPTI
news Monsoon Saturday, May 28, 2016 - 16:33

With the monsoon season likely to set in over Kerala on June 7th, the India Meteorological Department has predicted that Kerala would receive 106 percent rainfall in 2016.

In 2015, Kerala had received 74 percent rainfall and witnessed a 26 percent deficit in southwest monsoon. The state had received a total of 1514.1 mm rainfall, while the normal rainfall for Kerala is 2039.7mm.

This year however, there would not be any deficit as 104-110 percent rainfall is considered to be above normal by the IMD. In this scenario, the important question is whether Kerala is ready to face the surplus precipitation?

For the newly elected LDF government, the modalities of dealing with pre-monsoon preparations is the first major task at hand after coming to power. The government on Friday convened a meeting with heads of public departments to take stock of the situation and has issued directives to specific departments.

The Suchitwa Mission, a nodal agency for sanitation in Kerala, has been providing Rs 25,000 to each ward in every Panchayat to carry out pre-monsoon campaigns. The ward members are expected to conduct awareness campaigns about mosquito breeding, waste management etc., for people residing in the respective Panchayat.

Talking to The News Minute about water harvesting and other measures to recharge groundwater, Senior Superintendent of Geology Jose James said that recharge wells have been created in many parts of each district and that the department is taking initiatives to harvest water in government-owned schools and other public spaces.

Further, he said that the department will spend around Rs 40 lakh to put an effective groundwater recharge system in place. However, Jose said that the department has a very limited role to play in the case of water harvesting. “Yes, we do carry out campaigns encouraging people to harvest rainwater but it all depends on one’s mentality towards such things,” James said.

In 2013, the Oommen Chandy government, in principle, had made rainwater harvesting mandatory for all new buildings and houses in the state.  However, Jose admits that it is not being implemented properly. He also suggested that the government should subsidize the cost of rainwater harvesting, which would encourage more people to conserve water.

Public Works Department Chief Engineer PK Satheesan told TNM that the department has received strict orders from the ministry and the government to carry out pre-monsoon works.

The government has asked the PWD department to allot Rs 38 lakh crore for taking precautionary steps ahead of the monsoon season. Each district would be given Rs 1 lakh crore to 1.5 lakh crore for the cleaning drive.

“Clearing drainage, fixing waterlogging points and road renovation, including the National Highways are PWD’s high priority items”, said Satheesan.

Adding to this, he said that the field supervisors will also carry out rigorous and frequent inspections to make sure that the work is being done properly.

In order to prevent the outbreak of monsoon-related diseases, the health ministry has also directed the department to step up its activities to prevent deaths caused by contagious diseases.

Health minister KK Shylaja on Friday said that an intensive sanitation drive would be conducted across the state on World Environment Day that falls on June 5.