Kerala flood mitigation model: Nod for Rs 9-cr work in TVM, Kochi just 6 days before monsoon

Commuters wade through a waterlogged road amid rains, in Thiruvananthapuram, Wednesday, May 29, 2024. Photo: PTI.

Thiruvananthapuram: Three days before copious summer showers triggered flash floods in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala's disaster management department issued a set of orders sanctioning works to the tune of Rs 9 crore anticipating a flood situation. The timing of the orders warrants interest because on May 15, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) announced monsoon onset over Kerala on May 31.

All these orders for flood mitigation works have been issued based on the minutes of the state executive committee meeting of the Kerala Sate Disaster Management Authority held on May 20, just 11 days ahead of the monsoon onset. Five days later, on May 25, the government sanctioned to release Rs 3 crore to the Thiruvananthapuram District Collector for the prevention of water logging in the city. The funds were sanctioned based on a proposal by the collector on May 18 in which it was cited that summer rains have started and monsoon is approaching and more works have to be done to avoid the impending flood situation.

For Ernakulam, the government sanctioned a work proposed by the executive engineer, Minor Irrigation, under Operation Vahini for Rs 4.97 crore, again on May 25. The Ernakulam District Collector forwarded the proposal on May 18, three days after IMD's monsoon forecast was notified. As the summer showers wreaked havoc in Kerala, the disaster management department has approved the funds with a condition that debris removed for flood risk reduction shall be disposed of appropriately in such a way that they do not get back into water bodies. As many as 59 works, which include clearing of canals to ensure smooth water flow, have been included in this proposal.

On May 16, the Ernakulam District Collector submitted a proposal for sanctioning Rs 1.01 crore for immediate restoration activities for the prevention of sea erosion using geo bags. The executive committee meeting held on May 20 decided to release the amount inclusive of Rs 50 lakh sanctioned to all districts, including Ernakulam, for immediate restoration works ahead of monsoon. The proposal includes nine works which have to be implemented at Kannamaly, Chellanam, Edavankad, Kuzhipally and Pallipuram panchayats.

With monsoon expected in Kerala in 24 hours, it is highly unlikely that works meant for flood mitigation and preventing coastal erosion could even be started.

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