Centre denies political clearance for Kerala Health Minister to visit Kuwait

Kerala Health Minister Veena George addresses media at the Nedumbassery Airport in Kochi on Thursday. Photo: Screengrab/Manorama News

Kerala's Health Minister Veena George has reportedly dropped her Kuwait visit after being denied political clearance by the Centre.
George and the State Director of the National Health Mission, Jeevan Babu IAS, had arrived at the Nedumbassery Airport Thursday afternoon to fly to Kuwait, where a fire tragedy killed at least 49 people, including 24 Keralites.

Ministers and government officials require political clearance issued by the Ministry of External Affairs to travel abroad.
"The decision to deny political clearance is such a wrong approach from the Centre. In the face of tragedy and sorrow, such an attitude toward Kerala is very very disappointing," Minister Veena George said.

It is understood the Centre denied permission to the Kerala minister as it has already delegated Union Minister of State for External Affairs, Kirti Vardhan Singh and considers the intervention of a state representative unnecessary.
According to reports, Minister George said expressed disappointment over the Centre's decision to deny her permission to fly to Kuwait. The minister and the state official had arrived at the airport at 7.30 pm. The flight was scheduled to take off at 10.30 pm.

Earlier, addressing media persons from the airport, Minister George said she was entrusted by the state cabinet to check on the wellbeing of the Malayalis injured in the accident. She also said the Indian Embassy has confirmed that the mortal remains of at least 22 Malayalis will be repatriated to Kochi.

The special flight bringing the mortal remains is scheduled to land at the Nedumbassery Airport at 8.30 am on Friday. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and other ministers are expected to be present at the airport to pay homage to the deceased.

On Wednesday, CM Vijayan wrote to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to ensure necessary arrangements to coordinate rescue operations.

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