Pro Bono study of coastal areas under ‘Doubt Clouds’

By Anupama Vimal

Despite the Opposition raising doubts and cautioning the government against engaging Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG) in the Rebuild Kerala initiative, the government has not only roped in their services in the post flood reconstruction initiative but also are moving ahead with engaging them in the  study of coastal areas in the wake of Cyclone Ockhi.

The government has already held discussions with KPMG representatives in India for conducting the study on coastal areas of Kerala, highly placed sources said and added that the international service providers are willing to conduct the study on a pro bono basis.  

They said that it was the Committee on Comprehensive Study of Ockhi that had recommended KPMG for the study of the coastal areas. Though the KPMG is said to have come forward for doing the study free of cost, doubts have been raised on why the international firm, which has been mired by cases in several countries, is offering such a service without charging anything. Sources said that a study of the coastal area of Kerala is not going to be a simple task and as such doubts have been raised on the free of cost service.

The sources said that the study deals with revamping the fisheries sector along with conservation of the coastal regions. The study would focus on the livelihood, resettlement and rehabilitation of the fisherfolk who have been affected by Ockhi. It would also look at ways to improve the safety aspects of fishermen at sea. Apart from this, the ecology of the coastal regions will also come under the purview of the study.

The government’s version is that the KPMG has been made a partner in the study because of its vast experience and because the service is being got free. However, doubts still persist on why KPMG, whose credentials have been questioned in some countries, is being dragged into the study.  The government itself knows that the study would involve huge amount and as such doubts have been raised.

Some even have raised doubts of outsourcing the study on revamping the fisheries sector and the coastal regions only because it has been given the job in the Rebuild Kerala initiative. When good government machinery is available for conducting all such studies and revamping the coastal areas, doubts have been raised on the Left government’s unwanted hurry in outsourcing the study.  

When the government had decided to engage KPMG for flood related rebuilding, the Opposition had asked the government to first verify the credential of this accounting firm even though they were offering its service free of cost. They had even asked the government to consider the Netherland government’s offer instead of the offer of KMPG. The KPMG is reported to be facing issues in the UK, South Africa and America.

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