Kerala axes all functions for a year

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government on Tuesday announced that it won’t host any function that involves huge sums of money for a year and instead divert the amount for flood relief. The cancelled events include the much-acclaimed International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), held every December, besides state school youth festivals.
Officials say Kerala has suffered damage amounting to Rs 30,000 crore in the worst floods to hit the state in a century.
A government order said that no government department would host any festival for a year.
The funds earmarked for all such cancelled events would be diverted to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF).
However, State Culture Minister AK Balan said there was some disconnect in the order.
“There needs to be more clarity about this order and a letter has been sent to the chief secretary for the same. ‘There was no decision taken by the Committee of Ministers looking into rebuilding the state,” Balan told the media.
Veteran Director Kamal, who is also the chairman of the academy that organises the IFFK, said the order had come as a surprise as he had discussed about the conduct of the film festival with Balan in the morning.
“We can hold this festival without any celebrations and utilise our own funds,” said Kamal.
Till Monday, the CMDRF had received Rs 1,036 crore. Kerala ministers are soon leaving for 14 countries to raise money from public contributions.
Meanwhile, three former Water Resources Ministers in Kerala on Tuesday asked the government to order a judicial probe into the floods that ravaged the state, saying it was a man-made disaster.
The three include Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan of the Congress, PJ Joseph (Kerala Congress-Mani) and Kollam Lok Sabha member NK Premachandran of the RSP.
The demand for a judicial probe comes at a time when the Kerala High Court is looking into a public interest petition which says that the floods were a man-made disaster caused due to callousness of officials and the way the dam waters was handled.
Premachandran told the media that the Dam Safety Authority and the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) did not apply their mind.
“The Facebook post of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is enough to prove that the entire dam water management policy of his government was an abject failure,” he said.
Radhakrishnan said they were not playing politics and wanted to ensure that such a disaster never happens again. — IANS