190809 kerala flood
Flood-affected people are moved to a safer place in Paravur in Ernakulam district in the southern state of Kerala. Image Credit: Reuters

Thiruvananthapuram: Amid a slow recovery from the flood-inflicted damage, Keralites have been exchanging messages on social media that criticise the government. There is also a counter campaign that exhorts people to generously donate to the government’s flood-relief efforts.

It all began with a message circulated on social media asking people “not to give a pie” to the Chief Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund (CMDRF) because the money would be diverted for other purposes.

Police, government, media houses and the government itself have now come out against the negative campaign, pointing out that the CMDRF is a transparent fund that is audited by the comptroller and auditor general, and one that falls within the purview of the Right to Information Act.

Finance minister T.M. Thomas Isaac was one of the first to counter the claims. While the negative campaign said some of the CMDRF money would go to foreign trips for government officials, Isaac pointed out there was a separate budget for expenses like international travel.

He said the people’s contribution of over Rs40 billion (Dh2 billion) collected until July 2019 had helped significantly in the relief operations that followed the flood of 2018.

One of the reasons that triggered the negative campaign against the government is the delay in reaching relief money to those affected in the 2018 flood.

Many of them have complained through local media that they did not get the immediate relief of Rs10,000 that was promised by the government, while some others whose homes were destroyed said they were still awaiting the Rs400,000 promised after the flood destruction.