Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala government on Wednesday decided to provide air tickets to stranded Malayalees in violence-hit cities of Iraq to enable their safe return to the state.
Speaking to reporters after a cabinet meeting which discussed the issue, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that as per reports, most of the Keralites were willing to return.
However, the main problem was transporting them safely from the places they were staying to the airport, amid the fighting that was still continuing in that country, he said.
He said Kerala had requested the Union government to bear the cost of bringing back the stranded Malayalees and if this was not possible, the state government would meet the expense.
"I have sent letters to the Prime Minister and the External Affairs Minister, informing them about the same. The state government is ready to provide air tickets to those wanting to come back," he said.
The CM said some Malayalees in Baghdad are prepared to reach the airport and all they needed was tickets, which the state government would provide online. The Central government has sent a senior official to help the Ambassador tackle the situation there, he said.
Yesterday, Non-Keralites Residents Affairs Minister K C Joseph had informed the Assembly that the government was ready to bear expenses to bring back Keralites stranded in violence hit cities in Iraq if the Centre was unwilling to meet the same.
He had also said the state government was in touch with the Indian embassy in Iraq and the Centre from the day the turmoil started.
To another question, Chandy said the action against the headmistress of Cotton Hill Girls HSS, who was transferred for resenting the late arrival of state Education Minister for a recent campus function, was taken based on an official enquiry report,which had recommended disciplinary action against her.
However government had taken a lenient approach on the issue, he said.
"As per the programme notice, the function was to commence by 9.30 AM,but the minister gave his time of arrival as 11 AM. Eventually,he reached the venue after one hour due to the Assembly session. The school gate was closed on his arrival," Chandy pointed out.
The issue had rocked the assembly earlier today with the CPI(M) led LDF opposition protesting the action and disrupting proceedings, forcing the house to be adjourned ahead of the day`s schedule.
The incident occurred on Jun 16 at a function in the school campus here in which the Minister was to have inaugurated a quality improvement programme.He was slated to arrive at 11 AM, but arrived about 90 minutes behind schedule. Principal K K Urmiladevi allegedly made some critical remarks about it in her speech.
Though the Minister did not respond then,the principal was served a memo five days later and issued transfer orders allegedly before the deadline given for replying to the memo.
Urmiladevi said she would approach the state Administrative Tribunal challenging the government order.