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Kerala: CM Pinarayi Vijayan slams Centre's decision to block Health Minister Veena George's travel to Kuwait

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan criticized the Central government for preventing the state's Health Minister Veena George from traveling to Kuwait, terming the decision as "improper." 

Kerala: CM Pinarayi Vijayan slams Centre's decision to block Health Minister Veena George's travel to Kuwait anr
First Published Jun 14, 2024, 7:48 PM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan expressed strong dissatisfaction on Friday regarding the Centre's decision to deny clearance for Health Minister Veena Vijayan to travel to Kuwait. Speaking at the inauguration of the Loka Kerala Sabha in Thiruvananthapuram, he mentioned that the health minister arrived at Nedumbassery airport on June 13 but was unable to proceed further.

Kuwait fire tragedy: After Kochi, IAF plane carrying mortal remains of 14 Indians reaches Delhi (WATCH)

"Before she could board the flight, we were informed that she had been denied clearance. This is not the appropriate moment to discuss the propriety of the Centre's actions. I will reserve that for another occasion," stated the CM. "However, I will say this much. We heard someone questioning why we wanted to proceed when they had already made all the arrangements and were handling everything necessary," he added, subtly referring to the Centre.

On June 13, Health Minister Veena George and National Health Mission Director Jeevan Babu waited at the airport for nearly six hours after check-in. Around 9 p.m., they were informed that they would not be allowed to fly. Following the fire tragedy in Kuwait's Mangaf City, a special cabinet meeting convened and decided to send the health minister as Kerala's representative to Kuwait.

The Chief Minister emphasized the longstanding tradition of standing by loved ones and offering support during times of distress. "When the health minister personally visits, she can witness the challenges faced by the injured, hear from the Malayali diaspora, and take necessary actions. This is what Kerala expects," stated the CM. Expressing frustration, he added, "What could we do? They simply denied clearance. Our only option was to receive the bodies of those who tragically perished and returned home."

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and state ministers received the remains of 31 victims at Kochi on Friday (June 14). The public paid their respects to the departed at Nedumbassery Cargo Airport, where Union Minister Suresh Gopi and Opposition Leader VD Satheesan also honored the deceased.

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