Fruit bats were the source of Nipah virus which created havoc in Kerala’s Kozhikode in May according to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), an official said on Tuesday.
Kerala Health Secretary Rajiv Sadanandan said that tests of the first batch of 21 bats were were negative, but the second set of tests done on 55 fruit bats from Kozhikode confirmed that the nocturnal mammals were behind the spread.
Sadanandan told IANS that Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda on Tuesday confirmed the latest test results.
The Kerala government’s dream programme to raise money from its diaspora through “chitties”, or a chit fund scheme launched by state-run Kerala State Financial Enterprise (KSFE), will be inaugurated by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in UAE next month, Finance Minister Thomas Issac said on Monday.
In an interaction with editors of the Kerala media, he said all the requisite permissions have been obtained from all authorities.
“This programme was initiated by the previous UDF government and the permission to go ahead came at its fag end. After we came to power, we took this forward and all permissions and sanctions are ready and all those diaspora who wish to participate in it can join,” said Issac.
“On June 12, Vijayan will launch the registration process and all those who wish to enter the scheme can register in the KSFE site. Once Vijayan launches the programme in UAE, next month, the chitty scheme will be open,” he added.
KSFE Chairman Philipose Thomas said to start with, those who wish to participate can contribute monthly as low as Rs 3,000 to a high of Rs 25,000.
“The duration of the chitty given the nature of the job scenario in the Middle East is kept from a minimum of 30 months to a maximum of 60 months. Once a diaspora member joins he can pay the monthly contribution through his non-resident ordinary account and at the end of the chitty term, the payment will be made to his non-resident ordinary account,” he said.
“The programme enables each person who joins the chitty to complete every process online, which includes even bidding, and at the end of the period, the money will be credited into their bank account. Every aspect of the online process has been tested,” said Unni Krishnan who heads the technology division of the chitty scheme.
The entire programme is being handled by the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board, a government-owned financial institution meant to mobilize funds for infrastructure development outside state revenue.
Its Chief Executive K.M. Abraham, who is a former state Chief Secretary, said that no one needs to donate anything, but only to join a chitty where the money collected will be deposited in bonds and used for the state’s development needs.
“At the end of the chitty, it’s a win-win situation for both the person who joined the chitty and for the state government,” he added.
According to the latest study report on the diaspora, 90 per cent of 23.63 lakh Keralites aboard are in the various Middle East countries, of which UAE accounts for 38.7 per cent, followed by Saudi Arabia with 25.2 per cent. (IANS)