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Assam’s flood management programme poorly implemented: CAG

Assam is reeling under severe floods this monsoon season, which have displaced over 2 lakh people and led to more than 70 deaths.

environment Updated: Jul 21, 2017 22:50 IST
Malavika Vyawahare
Malavika Vyawahare
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Assam,floods,CAG
The Brahmaputra was flowing above the danger level at Dibrugarh, Nimatighat, Tezpur, Goalpara and Dhubri on Sunday.((PTI Photo))

Even as Assam reels under floods a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report revealed a shortfall of 60% in the release of central funds for the state’s flood management projects.

The centre was supposed to release R. 2,043.19 crore between 2007-08 and 2015-16 for 141 projects but only released R. 812.22 crore. The state government fared worse, releasing only 16% of the allocated budget provision. “Insufficient flow of fund adversely affected the implementation of schemes,” the CAG report concluded.

In Assam 14 districts have been inundated with floods, over 2 lakh people are displaced and over 70 people have lost their lives, in this year alone. Floods are a natural phenomena in these areas because excessive monsoon rains cause flooding regularly, but shoddy preparedness has only made the situation worse.

“There were huge delays in completion of River Management Activities and Works related to Border Areas projects which were long term solutions for the flood problems of Assam, North Bihar and Eastern Uttar Pradesh,” the report found. “There were discrepancies in execution of works like irregular award of work, splitting of tenders, payment at higher rates.”

The CAG report evaluated 206 Flood Management Programme projects, 38 flood forecasting stations, 49 River Management Activities and works related to Border Area projects and 68 large dams in 17 states and Union Territories between 2007 and 2016. They found “inordinate delays” in almost a quarter of the projects, in release of funds and ultimately completion of projects ranging from 10 months to 13 years.

In none of the 17 states were flood prone areas even assessed scientifically. After two decades of investing in telemetry systems, that provide real time data so that flood warnings can be issued, and investing of crores of rupees the government still depends on manual data, the CAG noted.

This week, Prime Minister Modi called on Indian scientists to “rise up to the challenges, provide solutions to improve the lives of the common man.” The call could be well heeded within the vaunted walls of Delhi.

First Published: Jul 21, 2017 18:58 IST