While CM Pinarayi said the amount would be affordable and won’t be a burden for the poor, the opposition called the move inhuman.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan
news Coronavirus Wednesday, May 27, 2020 - 10:13

Non-Resident Keralites  (NRKs) who return to the state now need to pay for the institutional quarantine facility. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan during his routine media briefing on COVID-19 on Tuesday said that even people who are poor need to pay for the institutional quarantine facility.

“The rate will be fixed by the government,” Pinarayi said.

“Lakhs of people are returning to the state and the government won't be able to bear the expenses of all. Now onwards those who are in institutional quarantine need to pay for the facility. The entire expense needs to be borne by the people. The state will decide the charges to be paid for the facility. People will be informed about the amount they need to pay,” the CM said.

When asked if the people who are poor also need to pay he said that they also need to pay as they are traveling back to the state. When reporters pointed out the plight of many who were returning after losing jobs and living in labour camps, the CM stressed that they too would have to pay for institutional quarantine.  

There will be different types of institutional quarantine including those that will be affordable for the poor, he said.  

The state’s decision, however, has attracted criticism from the opposition.

Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala said that it's inhuman to rob those who return to the state after losing everything. He pointed out that the state we see now is also the result of the toil of the NRKs.

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee President Mullappally Ramachandran called it an utmost brutality that free quarantine has been denied to the NRKs who return to their own land like refugees.

"The government stand is objectionable. Every NRK now return to the state paying a high amount for flight fare. Time won’t ever pardon Pinarayi's inhuman act to those who had strengthened the development jump of the state. Everyone has once again realised that Pinarayi's love for NRKs is a farce," Mulllappally said.

Congress MLA of Thrithala, VT Balram said that it's poor and ordinary people who depend on government-run quarantine facilities. They are housed in schools and colleges while those who have money opt for paid quarantines like hotels and resorts. “Pinarayi has made it clear that there won’t be any exemption even for the poor,” he said.


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