The Chief Minister thanked the various groups of people involved in rescue and relief work, and answered questions on Opposition Leader's criticism.

History will speak of Kerala as a state that overcame floods CM Pinarayi
news Kerala Floods Tuesday, August 28, 2018 - 18:05

Thanking the various groups of people involved in the rescue operations during floods, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan highlighted the unity shown by the state. “With all of this happening, we can overcome this disaster. History will speak of us not as a state that got defeated but as one that overcame the floods,” the CM said.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, Pinarayi Vijayan thanked the Central forces including the Navy and the Army that came to work for the state. He appreciated the work of the state officials including the District Collectors and lauded the youth who have been so active during the floods, and who would take our culture forward and make us proud.

With 40,000 police personnel on the ground during the disaster, the CM said, “The police became vehicles of communication.”  He spoke of one policeman who got the message that his house and his wife’s house were under floods, but continued to work in rescue operations. He also thanked the many fishermen, who risked their lives for the rescue operations, noting they would be honoured at a function in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday. The MLAs too had done remarkable work, the CM said. 

Reacting to the criticism from Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, Pinarayi said he didn’t know what was happening to the Congress leader. “He had earlier taken the right stance (when the floods came). But now someone seems to have told him that it won’t be an Opposition if there is no criticism. He seems to be criticising for the sake of criticism now.”

The CM also dismissed allegations of funds for Cyclone Ockhi being mis-utilised, saying a single paisa was not used for any other purpose. "The amount alloted by the Centre to the CMDRF is Rs 107 Crore. The SDRF (State Disaster Relief Fund) received Rs 111 Crore. So the total we got as funds for Ockhi is Rs 218 Crore. The money spent so far for rehabiltation and rebuilding is Rs 116.79 Crore, and would need to spend another Rs 84.90 Crore. So the total being spent on Ockhi relief is Rs 201.69 Crore. The government would spend the remaining, and more for coastal projects," the CM explained.

He also reminded the people about his proposition to Malayalis across the world, to donate one month’s salary to the relief fund; and if it was difficult to contribute it together, to donate it over ten months. As announced earlier, every family returning home from relief camps would be given an amount of Rs 10,000. Pinarayi also said that there are presently 1.9 lakh people belonging to 53,000 families at relief camps, with hundreds returning home since the waters receded. At the peak of the floods, around 14.5 lakh people were left displaced.

With schools reopening on August 29, the CM said that arrangements are being made to use weddings halls and other public spaces as relief camps. With hotels and shops still closed in the affected regions, Pinarayi announced that the Civil Supplies and Consumer Federation would open more stalls there. Domestic animals too would need food, the CM observed.

The Chief Secretary is also in talks with insurance companies to reimburse the losses of vehicles. “Technical reasons should not stop it,” the CM said.

Rebuilding is a huge process but it was hearty to notice how many people were coming forward to help, the CM said.

Show us some love! Support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.