Kochi: Kerala’s Left Democratic Front government on Sunday faced flak from the opposition Congress in the state, and a federal minister, for discriminating between the victims of the Air India Express crash at the Kozhikode airport and those who lost their lives in a land slide at Pettimudi near Munnar in Idukki district.
The air crash victims’ families will get Rs1 million each, while landslide victims’ families were promised Rs500,000 each.
Both mishaps happened on Friday. The toll in the Munnar disaster rose to 38 on Sunday, with 12 more bodies recovered from the site where they were buried under earth in the landslide. Another 28 persons are feared buried under the earth and rubble. They were all workers of estates in the region and their family members.
In the air crash, 19 people who were on their way from Dubai to Kozhikode lost their lives. Of the passengers, 28 were returning home after having lost their jobs. It has not been determined how many of the 28 were among the dead.
'Each life is equally important'
On Sunday, Opposition leader, Ramesh Chennithala criticised the state government for discriminating between the poor estate workers and the air passengers in the quantum of compensation announced for victims’ families.
“Each life is equally important and no amount of money can compensate for a life lost. I thought the chief minister, after visiting Kozhikode, would go to Munnar where the landslide happened,” Chennithala said in Munnar. He said the compensation for the victims at Munnar should also be raised to Rs1 million.
Congress leader and MP, Dean Kuriakose also criticised the disparity in compensation to the victims of the air crash and landslide. “It is not only the differing amounts. The state governor, chief minister and some ministers rushed to Kozhikode following the plane crash, but that did not happen in the case of the Munnar landslide,” he said.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader and federal minister, V. Muraleedharan accused chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan of being “selective” in his treatment of the air crash and landslide victims. “He is the chief minister of the state, he should not discriminate between victims,” Muraleedharan said.
Rains continued to lash different parts of Kerala on Sunday, too. A young taxi driver identified as Justin lost his life in Kottayam district after his car was drawn into the waters of the Meenachil river. His body was recovered from the car which was found in a paddy field.