Jamshedpur: A Malayali association in Jamshedpur has decided to cancel Onam celebrations this year in view of the devastating floods in Kerala that claimed over 200 lives and rendered more than seven lakh people homeless.
The annual harvest festival commenced on 15 August, and is set to conclude on 27 August. Kerala Samajam, comprising of 3000 members, celebrates Onam in a grand manner every year, but this time no one is in a mood to rejoice, said Sunil Kumar, the general secretary of the association.
The members have launched a week-long campaign in and around the Steel City in Jharkhand's east Singhbhum district to raise money and relief materials for the flood-affected people, he told PTI.
"Onam is a grand affair for the community. We organise various programmes, including 'rangoli' contests, during this period. This year, however, we have decided not to celebrate the annual festival as our brothers and sisters in Kerala are fighting for survival," said Kumar.
The southern state is battling its worst floods in a century, with more than 200 casualties. Kerala has suffered a loss of Rs. 19,512 crore due to the deluge, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Saturday.
The general secretary of the association appealed to people to make generous contributions towards the relief effort. "We have launched a week-long campaign and opened two counters on the premises of Samajam office to collect relief materials. The members of the community have connected with the volunteers down south for transporting the materials," he said.
Welcoming the move, Dalbhum Sub-divisional Officer Madhavi Mishra said organisations do not need permission from the district administration to start a relief collection programme. "The administration has asked all police stations to co-operate with such initiatives. The police will also keep a check on people or groups who try to take advantage of such drives to loot people," she added.
Kumar said the members of Kerala Samajam will approach corporate houses in the Steel City as well as individuals keen on making contributions. "The collected cash and supplies will be sent to the Kerala CM's Relief Fund and other rehabilitation camps," he added.
Updated Date: Aug 20, 2018 13:19 PM