Post-flood rebuilding caught in red tape, alleges UDF, stages walkout
Thiruvananthapuram: The opposition UDF in Kerala Wednesday slammed the CPI(M)-led LDF government, alleging it had not disbursed compensation to flood-hit people in an 'impartial' and 'judicious' manner even five months after the deadly deluge hit the state.
The much-hyped rebuilding initiative, announced by the government, was taking "final rest" at the Secretariat here after being caught in "red tape", the UDF alleged in the Assembly, even as Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan dismissed it as a "politically motivated" charge.
Before staging a walkout, the Congress-led UDF legislators also urged the Left government to set up a special tribunal for the speedy disbursal of compensation to the people who had lost their houses and livelihood in the August floods.
Rejecting the charges, Chandrasekharan said the rebuilding initiative was the "top priority" of the state government and listed out various steps taken by it to address the post-flood scenario.
"A total of 6,87,843 people have so far been given immediate relief of Rs 10,000. The flood-hit people, belonging to the SC/ST community, were given additional aid besides this," he said.
The minister also gave the breakup of the amounts distributed in various affected sectors including fisheries, vegetable farming and cattle rearing.
Seeking to move an adjournment motion over the issue, V D Satheesan (Congress), however, wanted to know how many fully destroyed or damaged houses, schools, institutions and village roads had been repaired or rebuilt in the last five months.
There were several people who still had not received the promised Rs 10,000 immediate relief, he said alleging the government had given the officials an "indirect" directive to not show the original number of the completely destroyed houses in the official list.
Though the government had over Rs 7,000 crore in its distress relief fund, even 25 per cent of the amount was yet to be spent, the MLA alleged.
"The financial condition of the people in the flood hit areas was severely impacted due to the government's negligence. So what we demand is a stimulus package to rejuvenate the areas," he said.
Alleging the August floods was a "man-made disaster", Satheesan said the LDF government was "liable to compensate the victims adequately".
Echoing the same sentiments, Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said thousands of people were still living in relief camps across the state due to the slow pace of rehabilitation initiatives of the Pinarayi Vijayan government.
"There is allegation that the compensation is being distributed on political lines in many places. This government has failed in disbursing the compensation to the flood-hit people in an impartial and judicious manner," he alleged.
As Speaker P Sreeramakrishan refused leave for the motion and rejected the demand to discuss the issue, UDF members staged a walkout after raising slogans and holding a banner stating "show justice to flood-hit people."