Kerala cancels state-sponsored festivals for a year

Kerala cancels state-sponsored festivals for a year

Women make a rangoli as they celebrate Onam at a flood relief camp in Kochi. PTI file photo

The Kerala government on Tuesday cancelled all state-funded and state-managed festivals for a year, on account of floods and landslides that devastated the state last month.

Festivals including the popular International Film Festival of Kerala in Thiruvananthapuram— its 23rd edition is scheduled in December— stands cancelled.

The school arts festival, an annual fixture held with huge fanfare, is among other events that have been cancelled.

An order dated September 4, by Principal Secretary (General Administration) Biswanath Sinha said all festivals organised or funded by the government including film festivals, youth and art festivals and celebrations organised by the Department of Tourism stood cancelled for a year.

Department heads have been directed to contribute funds earmarked for these events to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund.

The floods and landslides have killed 336 people since August 8 and caused losses exceeding Rs 20,000 crore for the state.

The decision has, however, set off concerns from within the CPM-led government, with Minister for Culture A K Balan stating that he “personally” favoured organising the events but by scaling down the celebrations and budgets.

Balan sought more “clarity” in the government order.

The general administration department comes under Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who is in the US for a medical treatment.

The government had earlier cancelled the official Onam celebrations against the backdrop of the floods.

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