Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday announced a relief package of Rs 29 crore to restore the livelihood of flood-hit persons, especially dairy and poultry farmers who suffered heavy losses in the catastrophic deluge that caused widespread havoc throughout the state in August.
The amount would be distributed in two weeks’ time, he informed the assembly while replying to an adjournment motion moved by the Opposition alleging that the government had totally failed in taking up rehabilitation and reconstruction of the flood-hit areas as well as delivering assistance to the affected people.
Raising questions over the efficacy of the government’s flood relief programme, Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala said that the revenue minister’s admission that the details of the losses could not be tabulated yet testified to the government’s failure in handling the crisis.
The Opposition stormed out of the Assembly alleging that the chief minister had no clear answers to the questions raised by the opposition leader.
CM blames it on Centre
Reiterating his stance, the chief minister accused the central government of denying state ministers the opportunity to raise funds from the Malayali diaspora towards the Nava Kerala Mission.
“Despite seeking permission, we were not allowed to meet the foreign affairs minister. Later myself and the chief secretary met the foreign secretary and sought to clear regulatory hurdles. The chief secretary was in constant touch with the central authorities to facilitate the ministers’ foreign trip, but the permission was not granted. It was a deliberate attempt on the part of the central government to stop the state from mobilising funds from abroad,” Pinarayi said and added that wisdom has finally dawned on the Opposition to support the government’s efforts to force the Centre to release funds.
The pressing issue was discussed after permission was granted to the adjournment motion tabled by Congress legislator V D Satheeshan. He alleged that this could be the world’s first government that failed to ascertain the quantum of losses even 100 days after suffering a disaster.