Between The Statues and Verdicts, Rebuilding Is Forgotten; ‘Rebuild Kerala’ Is Still Just A Slogan

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Government has not been able to meet even a tenth of the required resources.
Government has not been able to meet even a tenth of the required resources.

Even now when a rain stays for some minutes, Keralites are feared. The anxiety and the pain they faced a hundred days before can’t be described in words. Rain, Dams, Rising water levels, helpline numbers, relief camps, fishermen etc. How could they forget all these things?  But it looks like as the ones who are affected are still remembering. Because a good 100 days have passed by, but still the there is no sign of Rebuilding Kerala. While the Opposition alleges the State government, the government has passed the blame on to the Centre. The political drama is just continuing. In between these hundred days, new ministers took charge, new statues are built, bigger issues are raised. Above all these happenings, the people are still struggling.

Many are still struck in Relief Camps. The government’s financial aid is not reaching a significant section of the affected. The complaints are rising in numbers. The government has not been able to meet even a tenth of the required resources. It’s not that the state is not trying. Besides all allegations, the truth is that the state has been the shortage of funds. The worst part is that it’s the worst-affected communities who are still struggling. All the survivors on the verge of losing hope.

It was the worst flood in Kerala after the great flood of 99 that took place in 1924. Killing 445 lives, floods caused extensive damage to crops and infrastructure. Thousands of families were left out without houses and a livelihood. According to the World Bank and UN, the loss due to floods is estimated to be 36,000 crore. The State government received just 600 crores from the centre. Many including the Finance Minister of Kerala believes this as a dog in the manger policy. The Chief Minister’s relief fund has also received about  2,749 crore. Against this,  457.3 crore has been given to 7,37,475 people. This is the figures till October 31.

7,000 houses are fully damaged, while 50,000 houses are partially damaged. In between this, there are few, who collects money for their homes, where water just filled the lower floor, without leaving any damage makes the issue even worse. 4 lakh, the money allotted by the government for reconstructing fully damaged houses is really inadequate. According to the available statistics, the government has been able to compensate only 1,656 people, who lost their houses fully or partially. Certainly, the government is trying, but the fact is that hardly one-tenth of the required amount has been mobilized so far. Probably, the condition of the roads will be the second thing that the government will focus on. Because the length of the roads destroyed stood at a perplexing 10,000 kilometres. The government has already sanctioned rupees 1,000 crore for its repair.

It's the payback time for the solidarity shown by Keralites
It’s the payback time for the solidarity shown by Keralites

Generally, after every disaster, rehabilitation work will follow the relief efforts. All these would happen in quick successions. Gujarat Earthquake in 2001 and the Tsunami in 2004 had the same pattern. With only 33 days to go for New Year, State Government has to do something very fast.  Otherwise, Rebuild Kerala will remain just as a slogan.

Above all, it was the unity of the state, that helped the state to pull the things to its normal state. Certainly, it’s their unity, made the recovery fast. Now it’s payback time for the solidarity they shown. We can’t make them wait endlessly. But what we are seeing is that the state is giving importance to other issues such as Sabarimala and in between all these dramas, they are literally forgetting the flood victims. When the State is very sensitive, the government could have been waited for one or two years to implement such Supreme court verdicts. Because, besides all these verdicts, there are people, who still struggle to find a shelter. Above all, it’s the time to rebuild, not the time to create religious wars.

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