Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Governor P Sathasivam on Saturday pitched for a united approach towards rebuilding the state devastated by last year's deadly monsoon floods and cautioned against narrow politics and violent protests derailing the efforts and lowering the state's image.
In his Republic Day address after unfurling the national flag here, he said protests and frequent hartals only disrupt normal life and lower the image of Kerala, in a veiled reference to the recent violent agitations over the entry of women in Sabarimala temple.
While praising the central and state governments for taking up various development works, he said the state needed a "sincere political unity" in deciding the areas that deserve priority in rebuilding.
"At a time when the economic, social, environmental, cultural, political and even psychological impact of the floods remains difficult to measure, what we need is united action that avoids unnecessary controversies.
We also need to ask ourselves how we could afford to allow violent protests and frequent hartals that disrupt normal life and lower the image of our state," the Governor said.
He said the state needs a "sincere political unity" in deciding the areas that deserve priority in rebuilding.
"We are aware that our rebuilding activities cannot be completed overnight ...that our usual efforts are not enough to meet our targets.
"We have to be on guard against the trend to politicise our rebuilding exercise. We cannot allow narrow politics to affect our priorities," Sathasivam said.
Praising the state's youth and the fishermen who along with the police and defence forces took part in the rescue operations during the August deluge, he said the united response of the state during the flood was a role model for the whole country.
"From our experience, we are aware that the adversity could also be a strong unifying force as was evident in our people's response to the floods that devastated our state economy.
"I am proud that the strong will of our people and our united response to the flood was a model for the whole country," he said.
Recalling the united efforts put in by all sections of people and the district administration, expecting nothing in return, at the time of the floods, the governor said the state even skipped Onam celebrations.
He also hailed Centre's various policies at the national level to "promote equality and social justice".
"India's economic progress in the recent years under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi testifies the success of our policies that followed the mantra of 'reform, perform and transform'," Sathasivam said.
Skill India Mission, Ayushman Bharat which "ensures health cover to 50 crore people" were also mentioned by the Governor in his speech.
Lavishing praise on Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Sathasivam said the state was focusing on building infrastructure which would quicken the pace of development.
"Kerala's initiatives in gender budgeting, transgender policy, increased welfare pensions, interventions in health and education have won nation-wide appreciation.
As the first state in the country to launch the e-health project, we could suggest e-blue print for India's futuristic digital health system. We could also put in place a monitoring system for organ donation," he said.
The governor also said that after introducing over 40,000 smart classrooms in the state schools, Kerala focused its attention on improving the quality of the colleges through regular system for accreditation.
Lt Colonel Sanal Kumar led the Republic Day parade which saw the participation of Army, Kerala Police, women commandos of the state police force, Fire, Forest and Excise departments, various wings of NCC cadets among many others.
Vijayan, Chief Secretary Tom Jose and other senior government officials were also present.
State cabinet ministers also attended the Republic Day functions at various district headquarters.