Thiruvananthapuram: Seven Congress-led UDF MPs on Tuesday criticised Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for delaying the return of Keralites who are stuck in various parts of the country.
Benny Behanan, the UDF Convenor and Chalakudy MP, said till Tuesday since Covid-19 stuck, Vijayan has not even bothered to get in touch with the 19 opposition MPs from here.(Kerala has 20 Lok Sabha members and the CPI-M led Left has just one seat.
"It is now surfaced that Vijayan does not want to disturb the present status, where Kerala has very few Covid-19 positive cases. He fears that if there is an exodus of those people who are stuck within India and those from abroad arrive in large numbers, his clean sheet record, will go haywire," said Behanan.
The MPs pointed out that from government figures over four lakh Kerala diaspora and two lakh Keralites are stuck in various states of India and are waiting to return.
"It is the right of all our people to return. Vijayan claims to have set up four lakh beds for quarantine. Punjab operated 300 buses to get back their people. We now have a feeling all these so called arrangements as claimed by Vijayan for isolation and quarantine is not in place and also they want to keep the figures low," said Behanan.
The son of Congress legend and Vadakara MP, K. Muraleedharan said what has now surfaced is though the priority of diaspora to return is based on certain criterion, such things have not happened and all those who are able to get recommendations are put on the flight to here form the Middle East.
"A few district collectors have told me that passes cannot be given to all those stuck in the neighbouring states. Vijayan never expected this big an exodus and now arrangements are going haywire. The Norka-Roots (the state owned diaspora body) is become a white elephant. Those who registered on this web portal have found it of no use, as only those who registered with the various Indian Embassies are being considered. The Kerala House in Delhi was requested to be set aside for isolation of our people, but it was not allowed. A Kerala official, a former MP who was posted as a representative of the State in Delhi ran away to Kerala on the day lockdown was announced," said Muraleedharan.
RSP lawmaker N.K. Premachandran, representing Kollam Lok Sabha constituency, said there was no proper laisioning between the Centre and the state.
"366 trains was run from various places in the country to various states, Kerala did not get a single train. Only when the state recommends such a need to the Railway Board and there is a request from the state from where the train has to originate will this happen. Nothing of this sort happened and hence our people are stuck for months. None of us were ever called by anyone here," said Premachandran.