Kottayam: The Congress in Kerala on Thursday flayed the ruling LDF government over its alleged failure in dealing with the floods and landslides, which have claimed 42 lives in the state, following heavy rains last week and termed the Disaster Management Authority as a "disaster".
Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly, V D Satheesan, told reporters that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, surrounded by sycophants, was not ready to face any criticism or questions regarding how his government has dealt with the natural disasters in Kerala since 2018.
If someone questions or criticises him, they are branded as traitors or anti-nationals just like what the Prime Minister is doing, the Congress leader alleged.
He further claimed that despite the natural calamities in the state for the fourth consecutive year since 2018, the CPI(M)-led government has failed to put in place a system to anticipate such disasters and deal with them.
"The red alert was issued after the tragedy in Kottayam and Idukki districts. The State Disaster Management Authority has become a disaster. The government needs to be aware of the areas which could be affected by the floods, if water rises even one feet in Pampa, Meenachil, Bharathapuzha or any other river.
"We (Congress) have carried out such studies. The government did nothing," Satheesan alleged and added that the Congress has been repeatedly calling for strengthening of the early warning weather system since 2018, but nothing has been done.
Besides Satheesan, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president, K Sudhakaran also accused the CM and his government of having 'failed' to provide timely financial assistance to those affected by the floods as far back as 2018.
Sudhakaran, in a release, said the LDF government collected billions in the name of Flood Relief Fund and Rebuild Kerala, despite which those who suffered losses in the natural calamities are being forced to run from pillar to post for financial aid.
He alleged that thousands of people who lost everything in the natural calamities in the previous years were still living on the roads and relief camps, tired of going in and out of government offices for the meagre amount of Rs 10,000 announced as relief back in 2018.
Both Congress leaders also raised the 'Room for River' issue, saying the CM had talked about it after he visited Netherlands subsequent to the 2018 floods, but till date nothing has been done regarding that.
"People are beginning to wonder if it was a tourist trip," Sudhakaran said.
Vijayan on Wednesday had said that steps were being taken to implement the 'Room for River' project, aimed at tackling the frequent flooding in the State, and that everything cannot happen in one-go.
He had said the project has various aspects like de-silting of the rivers, which were being carried out.
Satheesan also claimed that while the Cabinet this week decided to call for a moratorium on recovery or seizure proceedings by banks against farmers, fishermen and small traders, the Congress has demanded the same several times in the past in and outside the legislature.
He said many people have committed suicide or are on the verge of it owing to huge debts and therefore, the government should take immediate action in this regard.
"All recovery measures in the state should be stopped immediately. Let things get better. Nobody wants to live in debt," Satheesan said....