Kerala floods: State may push Centre to accept Rs 7-bn aid from UAE

Pinarayi Vijayan
The Kerala government on Wednesday said if the Centre decides to refuse an offer of Rs 7 billion as flood relief from Kerala — as reported in some news reports — it should compensate the state for it.

Chief Minister (CM) Pinarayi Vijayan said, “We have heard there are some obstacles in receiving this fund. We will discuss with the government and go to the prime minister.”

According to the National Disaster Management Policy (NDMP), 2016, the Centre can take a decision on whether or not to take relief funds offered by another country. The Centre has released Rs 6 billion for the state, even though Kerala had demanded Rs 22 billion.

“We did not ask the United Arab Emirates to give us money; they offered Rs 7 billion voluntarily. Now, the Union government says it is below our dignity to accept foreign aid,” said Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac in a tweet, adding the NDMP allows for international aid in case of severe calamity. 

He added the Kerala Chief Minister’s Relief Fund has so far received Rs 2.1 billion and pledges to the tune of Rs 1.6 billion.

The CM said rescue operation in the state had ended, and the state government would felicitate those who had helped with it on August 26.

At present, there are 3,314 relief camps in the state, housing 1.2 million people. “We are trying to prevent water-borne diseases. The government is trying to create packages to help those who have suffered losses,” he added.