The Congress and BJP in Kerala on Thursday, October 21, flayed the ruling LDF government saying that it failed in dealing with the floods and landslides, which have claimed 42 lives in the state. Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly, VD Satheesan, told reporters that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, is surrounded by sycophants and is not ready to face any criticism or questions regarding how his government has dealt with the natural disasters in Kerala since 2018.
If someone questions or criticises him, they are branded as traitors or anti-nationals just like what the Prime Minister is doing, VD Satheesan alleged. He further claimed that despite the natural calamities in the state for the fourth consecutive year since 2018, the CPI(M)-led government has failed to put in place a system to anticipate such disasters and deal with them.
"The red alert was issued after the tragedy in Kottayam and Idukki districts. The State Disaster Management Authority has become a disaster. The government needs to be aware of the areas which could be affected by the floods, if water rises even one feet in Pampa, Meenachil, Bharathapuzha or any other river. We (Congress) have carried out such studies. The government did nothing," Satheesan alleged and added that the Congress has been repeatedly calling for strengthening of the early warning weather system since 2018, but nothing has been done.
Meanwhile, Revenue Minister K Rajan said that the weather warning was supposed to be given by Indian Meteorological Department and that their update for two districts -- Kottayam and Idukki -- contained no such warning.
"The IMD is supposed to give such information. Prior to the disaster, in the update IMD gave, Kottayam and Idukki were in green colour zone --implying no warning, it was not even yellow or orange alert. No such disaster has happened in these spots before," the Minister told Asianet News.
BJP's state president K Surendran also blamed the state government for the loss of life and property in the rain related disasters. He alleged that the Left government has been helpless in dealing with the situation as in many relief camps no arrangements were made and it was volunteer organisations who distributed food, water, clothing, masks and other necessities. Surendran also alleged that funds have not yet been allocated to the various disaster affected areas for relief efforts.
Besides Surendran and Satheesan, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President, K Sudhakaran also accused the CM and his government of having 'failed' to provide timely financial assistance to those affected by the floods as far back as 2018. Sudhakaran, in a release, alleged the LDF government collected billions in the name of Flood Relief Fund and Rebuild Kerala, despite which those who suffered losses in the natural calamities are being forced to run from pillar to post for financial aid.
He alleged that thousands of people who lost everything in the natural calamities in the previous years were still living on the roads and relief camps, tired of going in and out of government offices for the meagre amount of Rs 10,000 announced as relief back in 2018. Both Congress leaders also raised the 'Room for River' issue, saying the CM had talked about it after he visited Netherlands subsequent to the 2018 floods, but till date nothing has been done regarding that. "People are beginning to wonder if it was a tourist trip," Sudhakaran said.
Meanwhile, Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday had said that steps were being taken to implement the 'Room for River' project, aimed at tackling the frequent flooding in the state, and that everything cannot happen in one-go. He had said the project has various aspects like de-silting of the rivers, which were being carried out.
(With PTI inputs)