Senior Congress leader Oommen Chandy on Monday urged Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to be "considerate" towards a large number of Keralites still stuck in Middle East countries and not to insist on Covid-negative certificates from them before they board home-bound aircraft from June 25 onwards.
Chandy told the media that thousands of Kerala natives are deeply upset over the condition that these health certificates were not more than 72 hours old.
"Kerala lost time in getting back its people stuck abroad and across the country. The Uttar Pradesh CM operated so many buses to get people back to that state. Kerala never made a request to the Centre to transport Kerala natives back from other states," the former Chief Minister said.
"Our own diaspora is being treated secondary to even the migrant labourers. Our returnees are deeply pained by their treatment. Facilities at quarantine centres are appallingly poor. My request to Vijayan is that he should randomly call at least 10 returnees to know about their experiences. He need not listen to us," said Chandy.
"Why is corona-free certificate insisted only from those coming from the Middle East, and not from returnees from within the country or countries other than the Middle East ones?
"Figures prove that of the 75,000 diaspora returnees, percentage of positive cases among them is 0.85 only... the state government should allow all to return without any restrictions."
Chandy accused Vijayan and his party CPI-M of having the knack to "play to the gallery" and questioned him on corruption probes.
"It's now been four years when he taled about corruption cases and probes. We wish to know what happened. Why is he silent? Several schemes launched by us, including hugely popular Karunya health scheme, have been discontinued. We planned to set up a medical college in each of the 14 districts. We started five new ones, but Vijayan cancelled a few others. Just imagine, had there been medical colleges in all Kerala districts, Covid-19 could have been tackled more smoothly," the senior Congress leader said.