KOCHI: Humanity was the lone element which drove the state’s relief work during the 2018 floods. It was evident in every relief measure starting from the supply of essential relief materials to post-flood cleaning activities. One year after the deluge, Kerala is witnessing nature’s fury again.
Surprisingly, instead of staying united, Kerala is witnessing hate campaigns, politically-driven debates on the disbursement of Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF) and blame game between party leaders and their supporters.
As a result, unlike in 2018, this year many collection centres are finding it difficult to collect a reasonable amount of essential supplies.
Though many collection centres have been opened by colleges, NGOs and other private organisations besides the ones operated by the district administrations all over Kerala, the quantity of donations pouring in is less than last year.
Many celebrities and party leaders, on Sunday, pleaded with the public to generously contribute towards flood relief. Many of them were surprised as to how things have changed.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and CPM district secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said a section of people in the social media is actively campaigning against flood relief measures.
“We have even seen some cruel posts by some social media users urging people not to contribute relief materials. They are exploiting the situation politically,” said Kodiyeri.
“It is something that should never happen in a state like Kerala which is known for its unity. Hate campaigns by some vested interests who are actively campaigning against the Government are one reason. There is a deliberate attempt by some to create a division among people by using terms like north Kerala-south Kerala. Even some are trying to mix religion on relief works. This is not at all fair. We need to face the situation like human beings. Caste and creed do not have any place during times of crisis,” said CPM leader and former MP P Rajeev.
Meanwhile, taking it to his Facebook page, BJP state general secretary K Surendran said he did not know why the Chief Minister and CPM secretary were expressing their outrage over campaign led by someone using fake IDs.
“At a time when everybody should stand united, it is quite unfortunate that people who are handling responsible portfolios are trying to create division among people,” he said.
Volunteers hope the collection will pick up pace in coming days
According to Madan Babu K, one of the coordinators of the collection centre that has been opened in one of the vacant police quarters at Thevara in Kochi, enough materials are not coming in.
“We are routing all relief materials via government machinery and have opened the collection centre after getting permission from the tahsildar,” said Babu.
Indu Jayaram, senior volunteer, Anbodu Kochi, said though the collection was slow at first, it picked up the pace and they would be sending two trucks to Wayanad by evening.
“We are collecting only those items that the district administration of Wayanad and Malappuram have asked us to procure,” she said.