Thiruvananthapuram: With Kerala struggling to find resources for rebuilding the flood-ravaged state, the LDF government Tuesday decided to do away with state-sponsored festivals such as film fete and tourism carnivals for an year and utilise the funds for the rehabilitation work.
Days after the flood situation eased, the state reeled under various types of fevers, including leptospirosis (rat fever), with the toll rising to 11 since 29 August with two more deaths, including one due to dengue, being reported Tuesday, officials said.
A cabinet sub-committee that reviewed the relief works decided to complete the process of disbursement of Rs 10,000 as immediate relief to the flood-hit families. A government order said the international film festival, slated in December, and art and youth festivals organised with government funds and other celebrations held by the Tourism Department have been cancelled for an year.
The amounts earmarked for these celebrations would have to be transferred to the Chief Minister's Disaster Relief Fund (CMDRF), it said. The school arts fest, considered one of the biggest gatherings, the Onam festival celebrations and the Nehru Boat Race are among the events cancelled in view of the floods. The cabinet sub-committee also directed the authorities to finalise by 7 September the steps for the disbursement of compensation to the families of those who died in rain-related incidents, an official release said.
It also asked officials to take up all preventive measures to check the spread of fevers. The government had announced a relief of Rs four lakhs each to the kin of those killed and Rs 10 lakhs each to those who had lost their land and houses in the murderous monsoon that left a huge trail of destruction and claimed 491 lives since 29 May.
Meanwhile, the Kerala High Court Tuesday observed there should be transparency in determining compensation to the people affected by the floods. A division bench comprising Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice AK Jayasankaran Nambiar directed the government to file an affidavit with scientific, rationale and strong formula for granting compensation to the victims.
The court gave the order on a public interest litigation petition filed by IUML leader PK Firoz who sought a direction to the government to ensure transparency in giving compensation. The bench pointed out that same yardsticks cannot be adopted for all people affected by the floods. Compensation should be reckoned scientifically.
Meanwhile, state Finance Minister TM Thomas Isaac said the government employees Tuesday accepted chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan's "Salary Challenge" and agreed to contribute one month's salary in ten installments for the distress relief of the flood-affected people. A consensus was reached at a meeting held by him with
the representatives of employees' organisations, he said.
"The government employees in Kerala accepts the Chief Minister's Salary Challenge for Distress Relief of victims of Kerala flood. Employees to contribute one months salary in 10 monthly installments," Isaac tweeted after the meeting. Speaking at the meeting, Isaac said an amount of Rs 6,000 crore was needed for revenue expenditure in the post-flood situation.
As per a bulletin issued by the State Disaster Management Control Room on Tuesday, a total of 491 people died in rain-related incidents from 29 May when monsoon set in over Kerala. The period from 8 August till the third week saw the maximum deaths when the state was battered by torrential rains that caused most rivers to be in spate, resulting in the worst deluge in 100 years.
With more and more people returning homes, the number of displaced in relief camps came down to 8,800 on Tuesday, officials said. At the peak of floods, more than 14 lakh people were accommodated in relief camps across the state. The removal of mud and dirt dumped by floods in houses and buildings was progressing and only 12,900 houses remained to be cleaned, an official release said.
According to the Kerala Health Services (KHS), there were 115 confirmed cases of leptospirosis, an infectious bacterial disease, and 12 dengue cases. Thirty-eight people, with suspected symptoms of dengue were taking treatment. A total of 13,434 people sought treatment for fevers across the state Tuesday, KHS said.
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Updated Date: Sep 05, 2018 07:59:54 IST