THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A CAG report has found that the tourism department’s procedural lapses in obtaining prior environmental clearance had made some of its projects expensive, irregular and delayed. It took just six out of the 28 projects implemented by the department in eight years to find the problems. CAG found that non-adherence to the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification resulted in a loss of Rs 9.55 crore as central assistance and irregular expenditure of close to Rs 9 crore. Out of the six, just two projects had the approval of Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority (KCZMA).
The Tourism department applied for CRZ clearance only after KCZMA stopped the work of Development of Kappil beach and Boat Club, house boat terminal at Kayamkulam. These projects could have availed the Central assistance of Rs 3.23 crore and Rs 7.83 crore, respectively, if it was completed within 24 and 36 months.
The failure to provide utilisation certificate resulted in government to fund the project. Though the state government blamed the non-availability of land, the CAG found it unacceptable. The money spent on development of Kottapuram house boat terminal project and Ottumburam beach project was deemed irregular due to lack of clearance from KCZMA.