Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala . (File Photo: IANS)
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Thiruvananthapuram:

 
The Congress in Kerala on Thursday slammed the Pinarayi Vijayan government which has badly let down the Kerala diaspora waiting to return from abroad.

Speaking to the media here, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said Vijayan is good at rhetoric, but there is no action and as a result, thousands of Kerala diaspora waiting to return is facing fresh hurdles.

“While Vijayan himself says 60 per cent of those who come from within the country to Kerala are coming from red zones in trains and now in flights too. But for them, there are no restrictions, while harsh and illogical conditions of carrying a COVID negative certificate is being insisted from all the diaspora returning from abroad. One fails to understand the rationale behind Vijayan insisting for a COVID negative certificate,” said Chennithala.

It was on Wednesday after the weekly cabinet meeting that Vijayan staunchly batted for a COVID negative certificate from all diaspora and without it, none will be able to board the aircraft.

He went on and placed the ball in the court of the Centre demanding that it is they who will have to make the arrangements for testing those who are booked to travel.

Chennithala said tall and lofty promises were often made by Vijayan whenever he presides over meetings of diaspora here or abroad.

” The Norka-Roots (the state body of the diaspora) has just done the job of opening a website for registration, while the Loka Kerala Sabha – (a pet programme of the Vijayan wherein he selected representatives of various diaspora bodies and held two rounds of sessions, similar to an assembly session) also has done nothing to help the diaspora. Vijayan has to shed this anti-diaspora feeling,” said Chennithala.

Two time former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said Vijayan should not forget an assembly resolution that was passed in March demanding bringing back all our people without conducting a test.

Reeling out statistics, Chandy questioned the rationale of Vijayan saying by now 1.5 per cent of the diaspora who have returned have tested positives for coronavirus.

” his is not true, by now 84,195 of our diaspora have returned and 713 of them have become positive, according to Vijayan’s figures. If one looks into the percentage this is just 0.85 per cent and not 1.5 per cent as said by Vijayan. All are baffled in the way Vijayan’s stand against the diaspora has changed in three months time when our own assembly passed the resolution to bring back all our people without testing,” said Chandy.

“The tall promises made by Vijayan about all facilities are ready in Kerala for 2.50 lakh diaspora and all the tests would be done for free have all disappeared. It should not be forgotten by now 277 of our people have died abroad, added Chandy.

More than two lakh people are now registered to return from abroad.

Chennithala to protest this antipathy by Vijayan towards the diaspora is to stage a day-long protest in front of the State Secretariat on Friday.

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