In the wake of the widespread devastation caused by heavy rains and floods in Kerala, the state government on Tuesday announced that it has decided to cancel all official celebrations for 1 year, redirecting the funds towards flood relief efforts.
Events cancelled include School Kalolsavam (arts festival), International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) and all celebrations organised by the Tourist Department. The funds allocated for the events will instead be donated to the Kerala Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF).
According to Manoramaonline, the decision was taken by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan before he left for the US on September 2 for medical treatment, and the directive was passed on to all ministers and officials after the order was issued.
The Kerala government had earlier also cancelled all government sponsored Onam celebrations in the state, relocating the funds towards relief efforts.
The devastating floods that have struck the state of Kerala this monsoon season, resulting in the death of more than 400 people and forcing evacuation of over 10 lakh people, were on August 20 declared as a “calamity of severe nature” by the Centre.
In the aftermath of the floods, Kerala faces another difficulty of controlling a rat fever (leptospirosis ) outbreak, which has killed nearly 28 people in the past month.
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan has reached out for aid for the rebuilding of the state, not only to people in India, but also to NRIs living outside the nation. The state government is planning to raise funds from countries including UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Singapore, Malaysia, USA, Canada, Australia, Germany, New Zealand and UK by designating specific ministers to follow up.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Rs 500 crore aid and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had earlier announced relief of Rs 100 crore as well. Other states have also sent their respective aid packages, including Rs 10 crore from Karnataka and Rs 5 crore from Tamil Nadu.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has also announced Rs 10 crore aid to Kerala and that one-month salaries of all AAP MLAs and MPs will be given to the state. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has announced an aid of Rs 10 crore and Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik has also announced an aid of Rs 5 crore. Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje has also announced aid of Rs 10 crore.