Kerala Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan today made it clear that his government would be too keen to accept foreign aid to rehabilitate and reconstruct the state now in ruins after heavy floods.
The United Arab Emirates had made a clear offer to send aid for Kerala flood victims and for reconstruction in the State after the devastation caused by massive floods. However, Centre said a clear no, leading to resentment amongst people in Kerala.
Kerala CM’s statement assumes significance in the wake of a row over the Centre’s refusal to accept the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) reported offer of Rs 700 crore to the flood-hit state. He has gone to the extent of seeking legal remedies to get foreign aid as State was in dire need of it despite spirited people pouring in relief.
Addressing a specially convened one-day session of the state assembly to discuss the unprecedented flood situation, Vijayan said 483 people have lost lives in the state since the onset of monsoon on May 28 and 14 were still missing. He said the state’s economy had been badly hit and the loss could be much more than the state’s annual plan outlay for the year which stood at Rs 37,247.99 crore.
Rs 600 crore sanctioned by the Centre, the state was hoping to get more financial assistance from the Union government considering the gravity of the situation, the chief minister said.
“The Chief Minister’s distress relief fund has received Rs 730 crore till yesterday,” he said, adding that the government had also been offered land and jewels towards relief fund. On the discussions held with World Bank officials as part of fund mobilization for rebuilding the state, Vijayan said the government policy was to accept funds from any quarters if it was in tune with the state’s interests.