Thiruvananthapuram: While thousands of families in Kerala are counting their losses in the flood havoc, so is the government and the public at large.
The state government is staring at a significant dip in tax collection, and local communities in different places are mourning the destruction of tens of thousands of books in local libraries.
What is particularly painful for the state government is that the floods hit the state in August, the month when Onam festivities were due, which leads to the highest tax mop-up as well.
Instead, the tax collection dipped in August compared to the previous month, as neither Onam festivities or related shopping were upbeat.
According to estimates, tax collection in July was Rs15.07 billion (Dh774 million), and instead of the traditional spurt during the Onam month, it fell to Rs12.51 billion in August.
The forecast for the near term is hardly encouraging. Trade circle expect the market to be subdued for at least a couple of months before demand picks up. In the longer term, however, demand is expected to pick up, particularly for white goods like refrigerators, television sets, washing machines, and cars and two-wheelers which were destroyed in large numbers during the floods.
Libraries in various districts have also been badly hit by the floods. While students are attempting to dry their books and families are hoping to salvage their title deeds and identity cards from the slush and rubble of homes, libraries will find it difficult to save thousands of books that were submerged in the floods.
One report puts the number of libraries under the state library council, hit by the floods, at over 225. A few millions of books are estimated to have been lost, and in some places the library buildings have also been damaged.
Early estimates point to 60 libraries in Thrissur and 50 in Alappuzha district having been affected by floods. These are followed by Ernakulam and Pathanamthitta districts where 40 and 30 libraries respectively are flood-affected.