Flood is one of the natural calamities that the country faces almost every year in varying degree of magnitude. The frequent occurrence of flood can be attributed to various factors, including wide variation in rainfall over time and space and inadequate carrying capacity of rivers. As per Working Group on Flood Control Management Programme for the XI Five Year Plan (2007-2012), the total flood prone area worked out to 45.64 million hectare (m.ha.).
The Government of India has set up various committees for management of flood like Rashtriya Barh Aayog, Task Force 2004 and Working Group on Water Resources for XI Plan. The Government has also framed the National Water Policy 2002 and 2012 to govern the planning and development of water resources and their optimum utilization. The reports of the above committees/policies gave certain recommendations for management of flood in time bound manner. To achieve the above recommendations, schemes for flood control viz. Flood Management Programme, Flood Forecasting, River Management Activities and Works related to Border Areas and Emergency Action Plan for Dam were implemented.
The Performance Audit on “Schemes for Flood Control and Flood Forecasting” examined whether schemes for flood control and flood forecasting were efficient and effective, and whether the review and oversight mechanisms were effective.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India sampled 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 selected states/ UTs during 2007-08 to 2015-16.
Financial Management of Flood Management Programme (FMP)
• There were inordinate delays in 48 projects of four states ranging between 2 to 21 months in releasing the first instalment of Central assistance to the state governments after approval of the Empowered Committee.
• An amount of Rs. 600.92 crore along with interest of Rs. 18.30 crore recoverable as loan from the state governments for not releasing the Central assistance within 15 days to the executing agencies, was not recovered by the Central Government.
• Funds amounting to Rs. 171.28 crore in six projects of five states were not utilised and remained parked for the period ranging between 15 months to more than 60 months. Funds amounting to Rs. 36.57 crore in 3 states were diverted by the implementing agencies for works not approved in the Detailed Project Reports.
• An expenditure amounting to Rs. 18.12 crore incurred in the previous financial year before its approval by Empowered Committee was included in the cost of project in contravention of clause 4.10.3 of the Flood Management Programme guidelines. Further, an amount of Rs. 19.99 crore was released in excess in two projects in Bihar and Uttarakhand.
• The state governments did not ensure submission of audited statements of expenditure and Utilisation Certificates within stipulated time before releasing Central assistance.
Execution of Flood Management Programme
• In 8 out of 17 states/ UTs the flood management works were not taken up in an integrated manner covering entire river/ tributary or a major segment of rivers/ tributaries and the Preliminary Project Reports/ Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) were not prepared in accordance with the scheme guidelines. There were huge delays in completion of FMP works which ranged from 10 months to 13 years due to delay in approval of DPRs by the Empowered Committee/ Inter-Ministerial Committee, leading to technical designs becoming irrelevant at the time of actual funding.
• There were delays in completion of FMP projects due to non-release/ timely release of funds (Central share/ state share) and due to non-acquisition of required land.
• Deficiencies were noticed in contract management viz. execution of work without call of tender, award of contract to large number of contractors, splitting of works, etc.
• In four projects at Arunachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, the actual quantity of work executed was below the approved scope of work. In four projects expenditure of Rs. 9.78 crore was incurred without the approval of the Competent Authority. GI wires valuing Rs. 25.40 crore remained unutilised in one project of Himachal Pradesh. Irregular grant of mobilization advance amounting to Rs. 80.36 crore in three states resulted in loss of interest of Rs. 15.84 crore. An expenditure of Rs. 34.51 crore was incurred on jeep track/ inspection roads with Water Bound Macadam (WBM)/ Bitumen (BT) surface over the flood embankment, which was ineligible under FMP.
• No programme for upkeep and maintenance of the completed projects, with separate budget provision as envisaged in the FMP guidelines was framed.
• The Central Water Commission (CWC) did not identify any drainage system, which needed immediate rehabilitation and adopt measures for its repair and restoration.
• Against a target for the XII Plan for installation of 219 telemetry stations, 310 base stations and 100 flood forecasting stations, only 56 telemetry stations had been installed as of August 2016.
• Out of 375 telemetry stations, 222 number of telemetry stations were non-functional after installation and thus real time data was not available for the corresponding periods.
• Flood forecasting data was used in the formulation of flood forecast only after comparing the telemetry data with manually observed data; and in the case of mismatch between the two sets of data, manual data was adopted. Thus, CWC did not depend on telemetry data and relied on manual data even after investing in modernisation of telemetry station network for nearly 20 years. This defeated the purpose of establishment of telemetry equipment for meeting the requirement of real time data collection, its transmission and flood forecast formulation.
• No flood forecasting stations have been established in Tamil Nadu. In the XII Plan, action plan for installation of 41 telemetry stations in Tamil Nadu was prepared (July 2016) but tenders remained to be finalised.
• In Odisha, non-maintenance of water level in Hirakud dam as per the rule curve and simultaneous opening later on of 50 flood gates caused heavy discharge of water resulting in flooding in downstream areas. In Uttarakhand, the flood forecasting could not be issued in time due to incorrect fixation of warning and danger levels.
Other Schemes for Flood Control
• 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. There were discrepancies in execution of works like irregular award of work, splitting of tenders, and payment at higher rates.
• Out of 4,862 Large Dams, Emergency Action Plans/ Disaster Management Plans of only 349 (seven per cent) large dams had been prepared (March 2016). Further, only 231 (five percent) large dams evolved operating procedure/ manuals. Out of 17 states/ UTs only two states had fully carried out the pre and post monsoon inspection of the dams, three states had carried out the inspections partially and remaining 12 states had not carried out these inspections. The Dam Safety Legislation initiated in 2010 has not been enacted till August 2016. Programme for maintenance of dams were not prepared and adequate funds were not provided to carry out structural/ repair works.
Implementation of the recommendations of Review and oversight Committee for Flood Control Measures
• The recommendations of Rashtriya Barh Ayog with regard to identification of area affected by flood in country remained unfulfilled. Scientific assessment of flood prone areas had not been completed in any of the 17 states/ UTs.
• Only Bihar and Odisha out of 17 states/ UT had prepared Frequency Based Flood Inundation maps for the flood affected areas.
• Morphological studies, with a view to achieve better results in building, renovating and maintaining revetments, spurs and embankments to control and mitigate disasters caused by floods, were not completed by any of the 17 states/ UTs.
• Ten states had not prepared Comprehensive Master Plan for flood management and prepared their flood management projects on selective basis.
• Three states had enacted Flood Plain Zoning Act, but demarcation of flood zones was yet to be done.
Monitoring and Evaluation
• No performance evaluation was conducted for the projects in five states (Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Odisha). Three state governments (Manipur, Sikkim and West Bengal) did not take any action for rectification of the deficiencies pointed out during the performance evaluation of 26 completed projects under Flood Management Programme. Concurrent evaluation of projects under Flood Management Programme was not conducted in accordance with schemes guidelines in nine projects under Flood Management Programme in three states (Assam, Himachal Pradesh and West Bengal).
• Remote Sensing was not used in the monitoring of projects under the Flood Management Programme.
• During site visits carried out in the 17 states/ UTs, various deficiencies were noticed in the structures created under 14 projects under Flood Management Programme in 11 states. In 23 dams of six states deficiencies relating to spillway gates, check dams, weed growth and encroachment in downstream and low lying areas of dams, seepages, etc. were also noticed.