Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh is ill-equipped to handle any major natural disaster despite the state being vulnerable to calamities like cyclones, floods, earthquakes and droughts, according to the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).
The state`s "disaster preparedness" is virtually "nil" and everything related to disaster management is in shambles, the CAG said in its latest report.
Cyclones and floods in the last decade caused an estimated loss of Rs 44,765 crore to the state and killed 1,021 people.
The State Disaster Management Authority, constituted in 2007 under the Central Disaster Management Act with the Chief Minister as Chairman, remains dysfunctional while the District Disaster Management Authorities with Collectors as Chairpersons, too, are in a state of paralysis, it said.
Only very few districts like Nellore and East Godavari have so far prepared comprehensive disaster management plans.
Rescue shelters, particularly in cyclone and flood-prone districts, are mostly in a dilapidated condition. Early Warning Systems (EWSs) installed in coastal districts and vital communication equipment like HAM radios and satellite phones are out of order, the report said.
Funds for disaster management were either not released or utilised in time or even diverted for other purposes. Of the total Rs 4709.53 crore released from the State Disaster Response Fund between 2007 and 2012, utilisation certificates in respect of Rs 4024.38 crore were not submitted, reflecting the "extremely deficient financial management", the CAG said.
The CAG conducted a performance audit in five districts Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, Nellore in coastal Andhra, Khammam in Telangana and Kurnool in Rayalaseema covering the period 2007-08 to 2011-12.
The audit found that of the total 67 HAM radio sets in Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, Nellore and Khammam districts, only one (in Vizag) was working. Of the eight satellite phones installed in 2007, none is in working condition now.
The CAG inspection team found that at many places in the coastal districts, cyclone relief shelters were housing fair price shops, veterinary dispensaries, private milk centres and private hospitals. Of the 126 shelters inspected by the team, only 29 were in "usable" shape.