To Accept or Not to Accept UAE's Rs 700 Cr Aid? Kerala Govt to Hold Talks With Centre
So far, a total of Rs 318 crore, including Rs 146 crore from various states, has been collected for the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund.
File photo of Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan. (PTI Photo)
Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government will initiate high-level discussions with the union government to allow it to accept the fund offered by the UAE government for the relief and rehabilitation activities following the deluge that devastated the state, said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
According to the National Disaster Management policy 2016 there are provisions to accept voluntary offers from foreign nations in the wake of disasters, he said. He was reacting to the reports that Centre would not accept the UAE aid of Rs 700 crore to deluge-hit Kerala.
“The state government will discuss and officially try to sort this out. Immediately, after the announcement from the UAE, even PM had tweeted welcoming it. Now there are reports in media that there are some hurdles, we will see what needs to be done. If needed, I will talk to PM," Pinarayi told media here on Wednesday at a press conference.
CM Vijayan has made it clear that treating UAE as “any other country” is not justified and that the Middle East nation is like a “second country” for the people of Kerala
While the battered state has asked for a Rs 2,600 crore special package from the Centre for its Rs 20,000 crore losses, the latter has so far extended Rs 600 crore in help.
India has not accepted any aid from a country or a multinational organisation since 2007 and the policy is unlikely to change now, sources said. Even during the floods in Uttarakhand and Kashmir, the Centre had declined foreign aid offers, they said.
People, irrespective of their political differences, are united in their efforts to rebuild the state, the CM said.
The Chief Minister also thanked the Indian Cricket team which dedicated its victory over England to the state. He advised the fishermen and those who volunteered in the rescue operations to undergo medical check up to prevent water-borne diseases.
So far, a total of Rs 318 crore, including Rs 146 crore from various states, has been collected for the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund. This is apart from the contribution in the form of food grains from some states.
The CM said the rescue operation is in its final stage and there are 12, 10, 453 people residing in 3,314 relief camps across the state.
“All efforts have been taken to prevent shortage of medicine and food and to ensure all facilities at the relief camps,” he said.
There will be a formal farewell for the Central Forces, who actively took part in the rescue efforts at Mascot Hotel, Thiruvananthapuram, on August 26.
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