THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala government has been knocking on doors to rebuild the flood-hit state for a while as it desperately requires a whopping Rs 31,000 crore for reconstruction activities. But going through the statistics of the arrears of revenue that the state has to collect, one would be surprised to know that the arrears of revenue as on 31 March, 2017, on some principal heads of revenue, has reached a whopping Rs 12,590 crore.
This is almost half the estimated amount required for the reconstruction of the flood-hit state. Interestingly, of the total Rs 12,590 crore of arrears, an amount of Rs 5,182.78 crore has been outstanding for more
than five years. According to the CAG report on analysis of arrears of revenue released this month, ineffective implementation of the systems for the realisation of arrears of revenue, such as prompt reporting of arrears to Revenue Department and pursuance by the departments concerned for realising the
arrears, was the main reason for the huge pendency.
The arrears of Rs 5,182.78 crore has been pending for more than five years in eleven departments. And in the Excise Department it has been pending since 1952! The cases referred to government for writing off Rs 111.14 crore were also not pursued by the departments/offices concerned, said the CAG report.
In a reply to a question on the arrears of thousands of hectares of revenue lands being leased out, Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan said in the assembly that the Revenue Department has to collect around Rs 108.61 crore as lease for the revenue land leased out in a year.
The state has to collect Rs 108.61 crore as lease rent of revenue land in a year, but it could collect only a total of Rs 18.57 cr during the last two years. Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue) P H Kurian agreed that there is a huge pendency in collecting the revenue arrears. The department has intensified the collection process and has formed land revenue committees in order to realise the arrears of revenue, he said.
Among various departments, Forestry and Wildlife owes the biggest share in the arrears with Rs 340.21 crore, of which Rs 188.03 crore was outstanding for more than five years as on 31 March, 2017. It was followed by police (Rs 199.73 crore), Excise (Rs 199.32 crore), Land Revenue (Rs 168.60 crore) etc. The major reasons cited by the departments for the delay realising the arrears include court litigation, and the ineffective implementation of the systems.