Congress hits out at Kerala govt over ‘forced contribution’

Thiruvananthapuram, April 3 (IANS) The Congress-led opposition in Kerala on Friday asked State Finance Minister Thomas Issac to tone down his “threats” over contribution from employees' salary to the state fund to fight coronavirus.

Speaking to the media, leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala asked Issac not to “intimidate” state government employees.

“While Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan appears to be speaking in a sober voice, Issac is speaking in threatening laguage. We dismiss these threats. Medical professionals and those actively involved in fighting Covid-19 should be exempted from ‘forced contribution'. Temporary and casual workers should also be exempted,” said Chennithala.

He said the state government should allow everyone to decide how much they can contribute and reminded that even the Kerala High Court had taken a tough stance when the state government had launched ‘salary challenge' during the worst floods in the state in 2018.

Vijayan and Issac have been asking state government employees to contribute a month's salary which can be done in instalments beginning in May.

“The credibility of the ‘salary challenge' has fallen flat after frauds were reported from Kochi, and several persons were arrested for siphoning money from the flood relief funds,” said Chennithala.



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