Thiruvananthapuram: The Centre has denied permission for the scheduled visit of Kerala ministers to 17 countries to mobilise funds from expatriates for flood relief work, officials here said on Wednesday. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is scheduled to leave for some of the Gulf countries on Wednesday as part of the efforts to mobilise funds from Kerala expatriates. He is expected to be back by October 21.
Seventeen of the 20 state ministers had also planned to visit different countries in the Gulf and Europe to mobilise funds. However, the Centre has approved the foreign visit of the chief minister alone. Officials at the CM’s office said the Centre has refused permission for the ministers’ foreign trip. The ministers were scheduled to visit various countries, for five days beginning today to mobilise funds from the expatriate community to help rebuild the flood-hit state. Vijayan had said on October 3 that each minister would visit various countries from October 17 to 21, including in the Gulf and Europe.
Kerala had suffered huge damage in the torrential rains that lashed the state in August last, claiming 493 lives and leaving a trail of destruction. The LDF government had last month decided to raise Rs 15,900 crore as loan from the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and other funding agencies to rebuild the prime sectors of the state.