Kerala minister 'called back' from foreign trip

Kerala minister 'called back' from foreign trip

People are airlifted by the Indian Navy soldiers during a rescue operation at a flooded area in Kerala. REUTERS

As Kerala grapples with what the state government called its worst floods since 1924, a minister’s trip to Germany to attend a conference has set off a controversy.

K Raju, Minister for Forests, had left for Germany to attend the 11th global conference of the World Malayalee Council, scheduled between August 17 and 19 in Bonn. Reports said on Friday that the minister was “called back” after his party, the CPI, expressed displeasure at his absence in the state where a massive rescue and relief operation is on.

Raju who represents Punalur in the Legislative Assembly was also assigned with the responsibility of monitoring disaster relief work in Kottayam district. It is not known whether or not the minister had discussed the visit against the backdrop of the floods, with his party or the government. On the minister’s Facebook page, many commenters criticised the impropriety in his foreign trip.

The state CPI leadership is yet to make a statement on the issue.