Almost a year after the devastating floods of 2018, Kerala is back on its feet with the collective efforts of of the people and organisations from various spectrum of the society, led by the Rebuild Kerala Initiative under the state government. Meanwhile, the opposition parties in the state along with the leading media houses have been targeting the Left Democratic Front government in the state over the rebuilding activities.
The state government, however, has constructed 6,153 houses which had been fully damaged during the floods in August last year. So far, Rs 307.82 crore have been spent to rebuild the fully damaged houses. Along with this, about Rs 1,339.89 crore have been disbursed for renovating partially damaged houses benefiting as many as 2,51,500 families.
According to the data from Rebuild Kerala, an initiative of the state government which has been implemented after the floods, 15,463 houses were fully damaged in the floods and landslides. of these around 9,329 houses are being built by the respective families with the assistance of Rs. 4 lakh each from the government. The financial assistance from the government is being distributed in five different categories.
Read More: Rebuilding Kerala: People-Centric Adaptation Holds The Key
The houses that had faced damages more than 75% are entitled to get a financial assistance of Rs 4 lakh. The houses which faced damages between 60 to 74% are entitled for a financial assistance of Rs 2.5 lakh. Out of 15,564 such families, as many as 14,353 families have received assistance from the government. Houses with 30 to 59% damages are to receive Rs 1.25 lakh and 31,927 out of 36,083 families have received the amount. The houses with 16 to 29% damages are to receive Rs 60,000 as assistance and 75,352 of total 78,746 families have received the assistance. Around 1,33,040 houses were damaged upto 15%, and assistance amount of Rs 10,000 have been distributed to 1,29,868 families.
The rebuilding activities are still continuing in the state. At present, the Cooperation Department is constructing 2,000 houses in the first phase under the Care Home project. Of these, 1,500 houses have been completed and keys handed over to the beneficiaries. In the second phase, 2,000 flats would be constructed with the help of Urban Affairs Department which has sanctioned Rs 20.14 crore for the same.
The authorities have also got appeals from the public regarding the assistance. About 98,181 appeals have been filed and 85,141 of this were settled. Remaining appeals are being processed by the Revenue Department to figure out the loss.
Read more: Post-Flood Kerala: Rebuilding Gains Fast Pace in Kuttanad
Meanwhile, the main opposition party, Congress, which has been alleging that the government has failed to handle the rebuilding activities, has stepped back from their earlier promise. After the floods of 2018, the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee- the Kerala chapter of Congress- had promised that the party would construct 1,000 houses for the flood victims who had lost their houses. However, in the first week of June this year, the present president of KPCC stated that the party would build at least 500 houses for the flood victims. The statement came after a section people had questioned them for not fulfilling the promises that they had made earlier.
Now, MM Hassan, former KPCC president, has said that the party will be completing only 371 houses.
The rebuilding activities are not limited to only building houses, and have been followed through in several sectors like health, education, infrastructure etc. Due to a shortage in capital, the government is trying to mobilise more investors who will be interested to be part of this Rebuild Kerala Initiative.
Due to floods and landslides, the state had a loss of Rs 26,718 crore and it is calculated that the state would need Rs 31,000 crore for the rebuilding activities.
As part of the ongoing Rebuild Kerala Initiative, on July 15, the state government has conducted a conclave to raise money for the development activities. The conclave titled ‘Development Partners Conclave’ was attended by several high profile members from various international agencies including World Bank and UNDP, among others. The World Bank has also assured to be a development partner in the Rebuild Kerala Initiative.
“The World Bank representatives, led by its country head Junaid Ahmed, have given an assurance on this and they have promised to invest in several developmental schemes. The details of their investment plans in each sector will be decided after having detailed discussions with the state government officials,” Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters after the conclave.
Read More: Pinarayi Vijayan Reveals Kerala Model of Inclusive Policies in Reconstruction