India

‘No money for diaspora quarantine, but for Kerala govt publicity’

Thiruvananthapuram, May 28 (IANS) Hitting hard at the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Left government in Kerala, two-time former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Thursday said while extravagance continue, the government has no money to provide free Covid quarantine to the beleaguered diaspora returnees.

In his article to the media, on the occasion of the Vijayan government completing four years in office, Chandy said public money was being used for preparing the publicity material, costing the exchequer Rs 2.50 crores. The publicity material was being printed at three presses, which will be distributed to the people, highlighting their achievements, Chandy said.

“Vijayan has said that what they planned to do in five years, have been done in four years. This means people in Kerala need not expect anything in the fifth year of his governance. Vijayan is launching his election campaign using public money,” said Chandy.

Vijayan, after initially promising free quarantine for all the returning diaspora, but after around 8,000 diaspora returnees was put under free institutional quarantine, he went back on his word and said there will be no more free facility.

After massive protests, on Wednesday Vijayan said he was misunderstood and a fresh order will be coming which will provide free quarantine for the poor and needy among the diaspora returnees.

Chandy also pointed out the failed promises made in the election manifesto. “They had said availability of liquor would be reduced and what actually happened is the number of bars (when we demitted office in 2016) in the state was 29 and today it's 605 and today these bars are serving liquor in parcels. We had worked to open 16 medical colleges in the state, some of which opened, what they did was to close it and today they claim the health scenario in the state is upward mobile,” said Chandy.

Chandy also came out with a comparison his and Vijayan's tenure, which showed that the latter was able to only take forward what they had started, but several of his initiatives had been dumped.

He also pointed out that the gross public debt of the state has jumped from Rs 141,947 crores in 2016 to Rs 2,64,459 crores.

–IANS

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