Politics Over Fire Tragedy: CM Pinarayi Vijayan, Congress Slam Centre; Claim Govt 'Denied' Permission To Kerala Minister To Visit Kuwait

Politics Over Fire Tragedy: CM Pinarayi Vijayan, Congress Slam Centre; Claim Govt 'Denied' Permission To Kerala Minister To Visit Kuwait

The Centre’s denial of permission to Kerala Health Minister Veena George to travel to Kuwait to coordinate relief efforts was criticized by Chief Minister Pinaryi Vijayan and the Congress-led opposition on Thursday.

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Friday, June 14, 2024, 08:34 PM IST
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Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan | File Photo

New Delhi: The Centre’s denial of permission to Kerala Health Minister Veena George to travel to Kuwait to coordinate relief efforts was criticized by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the Congress-led opposition on Thursday. However, as expected, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan came out defending the Modi government’s decision.

Khan said that when the bodies of the deceased were being brought on Friday, what would George have achieved by going there on Thursday? "So, if you go yesterday and then come back again today, what will be the actual work which will be done there? Already the government of India ministers were in Kuwait and they were bringing the bodies today.

"So, a few hours are between yesterday and today. What will you achieve there even if you were able to reach there? These things should not be unnecessarily pursued," he said. On the other hand, Vijayan was of the view that it was a "wrong stand" on the part of the Centre.

"The minister had come here (Kochi), but could not travel due to a lack of political clearance. I am not raising it as a serious issue presently. It can be discussed later," he said. The opposition Congress too was of the same view as the CM.

Leader of Opposition in the state assembly V D Satheesan said it was "unfortunate" that the state health minister was not allowed to travel to Kuwait. "A representative of the state government would have helped to better coordinate the relief efforts. The state's representative would also have been able to help the Union government carry out the relief efforts.

"The Central government ought to have immediately given clearance to the state health minister. It was a wrong message from the Centre's side," he said, criticising the union government's decision.

Toeing his government’s stand on the issue, Union Minister of State for Tourism and Petroleum Suresh Gopi said there was "no controversy" in the matter. "People who are at the helm of affairs when it comes to diplomatic transactions and connections are into it. Do not be worried. They are also capable.

"We have our own contingent working there to help the injured Indians. It is the duty of the government of India," Gopi said. State Health Minister George, had said on Thursday night, "What we just sought from the Central government was the permission to travel to Kuwait to stand with our people affected by the tragedy and coordinate activities there. That permission is denied."

George reportedly waited for hours at the airport, hoping for permission from the Ministry of External Affairs. Officials had said on Thursday that 49 people were killed in the fire in the Al-Mangaf building on June 12 and 45 of them were Indians; the remaining were Pakistani, Filipino, Egyptian and Nepali nationals. The building in southern Kuwait's Mangaf area housed around 195 migrant workers.

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