Flash floods caught Uttarkhand govt napping in 2013: CAG report
A CAG report on the Uttarakhand flash floods in June 2013 is likely to indict the government for the lack of disaster preparedness in the disaster prone area.Updated: Jun 01, 2015 15:08 IST
It has come to light that Uttarakhand did not have any disaster management machinery in place when it was struck by a natural catastrophe in 2013. The state government has also admitted that it was clueless about the extent of destruction that the rains would wreak through June 17 to 18.
A report by the Comptroller and Auditor General(CAG) is likely to indict the state government, which was caught completely off-guard on that occasion.
Documents from the State Disaster Management Authority(SDMA), available with HT, speak volumes on the casual approach adopted by the state government in taking up disaster mitigation and management measures.
Records provided by the state government to central agencies as well as the CAG show that the SDMA was present only on paper, despite the fact that the hilly regions of Uttarakhand had been witnessing reccurring natural calamities.
The CAG report on the June 2013 disaster states that the Uttarakhand government “had no clue, between June 15 and 17, of the situation that would arise from incessant rains in the region".
"It responded only on June 18, 2013, when a team comprising the Garhwal commissioner, DIG of police and undersecretary of the department of disaster management reached the disaster-hit areas via helicopter and took stock of situation," said the CAG report. This report will be tabled in the state assembly in the coming session.
According to sources in the state disaster management department, the CAG has taken a serious note of the state government’s failures. Categorically stating that the "the SDMA was virtually non-functional since its inception, forfeiting the very objective behind its creation", it claimed that "no policies and guidelines were formulated in the state".
The CAG report further stated that the SDMA met only once before June 18, 2013, ever since its constitution following the enactment of the State Disaster Management Act, 2005.
It also stated that the government had no standard operating procedure for its line departments to tackle the disaster-like situation. "In the absence of the SDMA, the role of line departments – which are expected to respond quickly for rescue-and-search operations as well as other disaster management activities – could not be determined. As a result, little or no coordination was noticed amongst the various line departments while dealing with June 2013 disaster," the report said.