CM, Congress criticised Centre for not allowing Kerala minister to go to Kuwait

The Uncut

Thiruvananthapuram/Kochi. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the Congress-led Opposition on Friday criticised the Centre for denying permission to Health Minister Veena George to travel to Kuwait to coordinate relief operations, even as Governor Arif Mohammad Khan supported the decision.

Khan said that when the bodies were brought on Friday, what would George have done by going there on Thursday? He said, “So, if you went yesterday (Thursday) and returned today (Friday), what would you have done there? Indian government ministers are present in Kuwait and they are bringing the bodies today.” He said, “So, there were only a few hours between yesterday and today. What would you have done even if you had gone there?” Union Minister of State for Tourism and Petroleum Suresh Gopi said that there is no controversy on this issue. Gopi said that those who are in top positions in the matter of diplomatic relations are looking into this issue. Don’t worry, they are capable.

He said, “Our people are working there to help the injured Indians. It is the duty of the Government of India.” On the other hand, Vijayan said that this is a wrong attitude on the part of the Center. He said, “The minister came here (Kochi), but could not travel due to lack of political permission.” The opposition Congress also expressed the same views as the Chief Minister. Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly V.D. Satishan said that it is unfortunate that the state’s Health Minister was not allowed to go to Kuwait.

He said, “A representative of the state government would have helped in better coordination of relief efforts. The state representative would also have helped the central government in relief efforts. The central government should have immediately approved the state health minister.” George said on Thursday night, “We had sought permission from the central government to go to Kuwait and stand with our people affected by the tragedy and coordinate the activities there, which was not given.”

The state government had decided to send George to Kuwait to help in relief operations, including treating the injured and bringing back the bodies of the deceased. George reportedly waited for hours at the airport hoping for permission from the Ministry of External Affairs. Officials said on Thursday that 49 people were killed in a fire that broke out in a multi-storey building in Kuwait on June 12.

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