Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Thursday assured those who have lost their “layams” or residential quarters to a devastating landslide in the hamlet of Idukki’s Pettimudi that the state would identify alternate land and build homes for them. He said that the government would follow the same approach it had taken in the wake of the landslide in Kavalappara last year.
Vijayan was speaking to reporters after visiting the landslide site in Pettimudi along with Governor Arif Muhammad Khan, local MP Dean Kuriakose and local MLAs.
“Here in Pettimudi, an entire region has been washed away. Very few have survived. Some of the children who survived in the initial hours need better education in the future,” he said.
“There are some students in 12th standard and others pursuing degree courses. The government will bear all their educational expenses. Those who survived the landslide and are undergoing medical treatment are also being taken care of as well,” he added.
Hon’ble Governor Shri Arif Mohammed Khan and Chief Minister Shri Pinarayi Vijayan at Pettimudi, Idukki, where landslides had claimed over 50 lives. They interacted with survivors and local residents and evaluated relief work @CMOKerala @vijayanpinarayi : PRO, Kerala Raj Bhavan pic.twitter.com/ac6ldeSNl8
— Kerala Governor (@KeralaGovernor) August 13, 2020
The chief minister also praised efforts of rescue and search agencies like NDRF, Fire Force and locals who braved inclement weather to find bodies of those washed away by the landslide. He said prompt rescue efforts helped in saving the lives of at least 12 people on the first day.
Explained: A look at how the Idukki landslide occurred
He also urged the Kannan Devan Hills Plantation, on whose estate the landslide occurred and whose employees are living in these quarters, to make arrangements for the daily wages of the workers and shift them to alternate “layams”.
Vijayan said that the government is giving serious introspection to the condition of living quarters of plantation workers and how homes can be built in safer regions for them.
Apart from the promise of home and land, the Kerala government had also earlier announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to families of the deceased.
So far, 55 bodies have been retrieved from the landslide site while 15 more are still buried under the debris and are yet to be found. In the initial days of the tragedy, only 12 persons were able to be rescued.
Rescue agencies are now focusing their efforts on the banks of the nearby river considering the possibility that remaining bodies may have been washed away. In the last two days, all the mortal remains were found downstream of the river.