THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Latin Archdiocese has come down heavily on the state government for its lapses in ensuring relief activities following the cyclone Ockhi disaster. Archbishop M Soosa Pakiam said on Saturday that the government had provided financial assistance to 49 families only.He said the government did not even have the exact figure of those who died in the calamity, while Tamil Nadu gave `10 lakh each to 177 families.
The archbishop was addressing reporters here ahead of Easter festivities. The bishop said he had contacted the Chief Minister, requesting him to speed up the relief activities, but to no use. Soosa Pakiam called for a social audit into the utilisation of the Ockhi fund. The government had not realised its promises on job, housing and treatment to the victims’ families, he said. There was delay in giving assistance to the victims.
The issue was brought to the attention of the state government, including the Chief Minister, many a time, he said, while appreciating the efforts taken by the Tamil Nadu Government for Ockhi victims. Without government assistance, disaster relief activities could not be taken forward. The Church wants the disaster relief activities to be completed in a time-bound manner. The Archbishop added that they would again approach the government with the same demand.
Soosa Pakiam expressed strong protest over the government’s liquor policy.The government would correct its stand only if the vote bank would be affected. Party fund and vested interests were behind the new liquor policy, he said.He exhorted people not to support candidates who encourage liquor use. The diocese is in talks with Hindu and Muslim religious organisations to put up a joint fight against the liquor policy, he said.If the government had shown half the sincerity in Ockhi relief activities, the victims’ lives would have been better, he said.