A Qatar-based Indian businessman's benevolent gesture will go a long way in the rehabilitation of the families who have been left homeless by a massive landslide and flash floods that wiped out the Kavalappara village in Malappuram district of Kerala.
The natural calamity that struck on the night of August 8 took 48 lives while leaving hundreds with just the clothes they were wearing. Ahammed Iqbal, a native of Kuniyil in the same district, has offered 1.5 acres of land at Karad near Nilambur for rehabilitating those who are living now in temporary relief camps.
"I have held talks with the district administration in this regard,” Iqbal told Gulf Times over the phone from Kerala on Thursday. Qatar has been the second home for him during the last 20 years. Iqbal is running Nexus Group, a construction materials firm in the country.
Driven by a desire to stand with Kerala during the tough time, the Doha resident approached the district administration last week expressing his willingness to donate the land. On behalf of Iqbal, his friend Mujeebu Rahman has handed over the documents to Malappuram district collector Jafar Malik.
Malappuram district collector Jafar Malik and other officials visiting Kavalappara.
“The district administration is expected to make use of the land as per the needs. Some organisations and individuals have offered support to build houses for the affected families,” Iqbal explained.
"I understand the hardships being faced by those affected by the landslide and I am trying to do my part," said Iqbal who purchased the land a few years ago for agricultural purposes. Crops including tapioca and plantain are currently being grown there.
Malappuram collector Malik told Gulf Times over the phone from Kerala that the district administration is chalking out a plan to rehabilitate the flood victims at Kavalappara and various localities in Nilambur.
“We have received the documents (from Iqbal) and the officials concerned are looking into the possibilities of making use of the land. Steps for rehabilitation will be taken in consultation with the affected families,” he said.
Iqbal's noble gesture was announced by noted magician Gopinath Muthukad at an event organised by the district administration at a relief camp in Nilambur the other day.
This year, the deluge directly affected over 200,000 people with 121 deaths reported. A total of 1,318 relief camps were opened across Kerala. At Kavalappara 48 members of 18 households were buried alive following a major landslide. Rescue operations are continuing to recover at least 10 bodies, it is learnt.
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