Thiruvanthapuram: Kerala which has been witnessing incessant rains, floods and landslide, the worst devastation in nearly a century, will not celebrate harvest festival ‘Onam’ this year.
The government on Tuesday cancelled the annual ‘Onam’ celebrations this year to utilise the amount for relief measures, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.
The Kerala government, which had kept Rs 30 crore for the cultural events, that were scheduled to take place for a week, decided to divert that amount to the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund.
Thiru Onam is falling on August 25.
"What has occurred in our state has been the worst ever (disaster). A total of 444 villages have been affected. The money set aside for Onam will be used for relief. We seek everyone's help in our efforts," CM Pinarayi Vijayan told the media after a cabinet meeting.
Kerala has been witnessing incessant rains since August 8 that has caused rivers to overflow, leading to widespread destruction. At least 40 people have died and there has been a huge destruction of crops and properties in the state after the shutters of 27 dams were opened to release excess water.
The worst affected parts have been Idukki and Wayanad districts. Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode and Ernakulam have also been badly hit.
The Kerala Chief Minister said a decision has been taken by his cabinet to form a cabinet sub-committee which will look into the quick implementation of the relief and rehabilitation programmes.
"From September 3 to 15, special courts would be held to see that all those who lost valuable records are issued duplicate ones and that too free of cost. We have also asked the State Level Bankers Committee to see that when the compensation amount is transferred, they should not levy any charges," Vijayan said.
(With inputs from agencies)...