Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government announced a solatium of Rs 5 lakh to the families of those killed in the tea plantation landslide in Idukki and Rs 10 lakh to the families of those who lost their lives in the plane crash at the Kozhikode airport.
The landslide victims are poor tea plantation workers from rural Tamil Nadu while the people who died in the air crash were relatively better-off people working in the Gulf countries.
The opposition in Kerala is pointing out the disparity in ex gratia payments and accusing chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan of disccrimination.
The Congress party said the disparity was also apparent from the fact that the chief minister rushed to Karipur on Saturday to meet those injured in the air crash but made no such gesture towards the landslide victims in Idukki.
Vijayan hid behind a technicality. The solatium announced for the landslide victims was only an interim, he said at a press meet on Saturday. Since the rescue operations were still going on for missing tea workers in Idukki district, the government was yet to make a final assessment of loss incurred, he said.
At Rajamala, we have declared an initial financial assistance. There the rescue operations are not over yet. We need to hold them together as we have the responsibility of taking care of those who lost everything. We also need to ensure their livelihood and rebuild their lives," Vijayan said in the press meet.
"The rescue operations are still on there at Rajamala and our ministers are there cordinationg the rescue and search operations. But the rescue operations at Karipur have finished," Vijayan said.
Revenue minister E Chandrashekaran and electricity minister M M Mani are camping in Idukki and coordinating the rescue operations. Forest minister K Raju also reached the location on Sunday morning.
The massive landslide flattened a row of 20 houses of workers at the Kanan Deval tea plantation. The tolls rose to to 28 today. The Air India Express crash resulted in the death of 18 on board and injuring 172, some seriously....