Kerala floods: Cong seeks caution before KPMG tie-up

Kerala floods: Cong seeks caution before KPMG tie-up

An aerial view of partially submerged houses at a flooded area in Kerala. Reuters

As the Kerala government prepares to engage global consultancy firm KPMG in its massive rebuilding programme for the flood-ravaged state, the Opposition Congress party has raised concern pointing to scandals that have hit the firm.

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala has written to the CPM-led state government, seeking an assessment of the company’s credentials before it is roped in for the rebuilding exercise.

Chennithala quoted reports in international media on an investigation into serious discrepancies regarding auditing and other irregularities that the Netherlands-headquartered company faces in the US, UK, UAE and South Africa.

"Considering that the Dutch government has offered technical assistance to the state, shouldn't we accept that? They have a proven record in handling floods and reconstruction (after disasters)," the Opposition leader said in a Facebook post.

On August 31, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had announced that KPMG would be the consultant-partner in the government's efforts to rebuild the state after the devastating floods and landslides that killed 336 people since August 8.

As of Monday, 9,554 people are living in 158 camps in the state. The consultancy firm has offered services free of cost.

Veteran Congress leader and the party’s former state chief V M Sudheeran said the government should probe allegations against the company before firming up an agreement.

Minister for Industries E P Jayarajan who is monitoring the post-flood rehabilitation and rebuilding exercise in the absence of the chief minister  —  who is in the US for medical treatment  —  said the government was going ahead with the KPMG tie-up.