Kuwait fire: Kerala CM writes to Modi on denial of permission to state health minister

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan has written to PM Modi raising the issue of denial of political clearance to state Health Minister Veena George to travel to Kuwait to coordinate relief efforts following the fire incident in the Gulf nation.
Kerala CM P Vijayan and PM Narendra Modi
Kerala CM P Vijayan and PM Narendra Modi

Thiruvananthapuram | Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi raising the issue of denial of political clearance to state Health Minister Veena George to travel to Kuwait to coordinate relief efforts following the fire incident in the Gulf nation.

The CM in his letter (dated June 15) has claimed that denial of the clearance "goes against the principles of cooperative federalism" and requested the prime minister to advise the External Affairs Ministry (EAM) to be "more responsive" in future to such requests.

Vijayan has said in the letter (made public on Wednesday), that it was "extremely unfortunate" that there was no response from the EAM to the request for political clearance and as a result George could not travel to Kuwait.

"Her presence in Kuwait would have helped substantially in liaisoning with the Union Minister of State for External Affairs, the team of officials and the Embassy. This could have provided mental relief and confidence to the families of those who were affected by the unforeseen tragedy," he said.

Vijayan said the intention was not to rake up a controversy in the hour of distress, but the state government shall fail in its duty if the non-response to the request for the political clearance is not brought to the attention of the prime minister.

"The collective decision of the State Cabinet has been disregarded. Political clearance was requested as per the Office Memorandum of the Cabinet Secretariat dated February 28, 2023.

"The present request amply falls within the purview of compelling circumstances and non-consideration of the same clearly goes against the principles of cooperative federalism in which the Union and the States are equal partners in the pursuit for development as well as in mitigation efforts, when our people face disasters and calamities," Vijayan said in the letter.

He said that no political or other considerations should come in the way in issuing political clearances in such situations and a decision taken "should not even appear to convey such a bias".

"I request the Prime Minister to advise the Ministry for External Affairs to be more responsive to such requests in future, as the good will between the Union and the States is a crucial determinant for creating the environment of healthy cooperative federalism," the CM said.

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