Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said that the government is going all out to bring back the 46 nurses caught in strife-torn Iraq.
Mr. Chandy, who addressed a news conference along with Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala and Finance Minister K.M. Mani, said the State government was working closely with the Ministry of External Affairs to bring back the nurses. There were limitations to the efforts that were currently on, but the two governments were not sparing any effort to bring back the nurses. He pleaded inability to share details about the efforts being made through various channels to secure the nurses’ release.
The Chief Minister was confident that it would be possible to bring the nurses home safely and said his information was that the nurses were safe.
There was ‘an incident’ even as the nurses were leaving the hospital where they were trapped in Tikrit, but it was not of a serious nature and the injuries were not serious. “There is no cause for anxiety,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Chandy had two rounds of discussions with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, accompanied by Mr. Chennithala, Mr. Mani and Urban Affairs Minister Manjalamkuzhi Ali. The State government had complaint about the steps taken by the Ministry or the Indian Embassy in Iraq to save the nurses. They were doing their best notwithstanding the limited options available to them, he said. Mr. Chandy is scheduled to meet Ms. Swaraj again on Friday morning.
Mr. Chandy said he had met Railway Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda and presented to him the State’s railway development demands. He had called on Minister of State for Commerce Nirmala Sitharaman. He had also had discussions on revival of ailing Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore (FACT) Limited. On its part, the State government must do a few things to facilitate the revival of the public sector company, which it would do, he said.
Mr. Mani said he had called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and appealed to take steps to write off Kerala’s outstanding debt of Rs.2,298 crore.