Kerala has been heavily affected by floods in the last two years and is still struggling to find funds to rebuild and rehabilitate. However, it did not feature in the list of seven states that the Centre has chosen to provide a calamity relief of Rs 5,908 crore from the National Disaster Relief Fund.
The High Level Committee (HLC) chaired by Home Minister Amit Shah has chosen seven states, including four BJP-ruled ones: Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Tripura and Assam. The others are Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh.
Kerala has not yet received a response from the Centre after repeated pleas for funds. HLC said it approved additional central assistance of Rs 5,908.56 crore to seven States from National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) - Rs 616.63 crore to Assam, Rs 284.93 crore to Himachal Pradesh, Rs 1,869.85 crore to Karnataka, Rs 1,749.73 crore to Madhya Pradesh, Rs 956.93 crore to Maharashtra, Rs 63.32 to Tripura and Rs 367.17 crore to Uttar Pradesh for floods/landslides/cloudburst during south west monsoon 2019.
The Centre had earlier released an interim financial aid of Rs 3,200 crore to four states, which again did not include Kerala. The interim financial assistance of Rs 3,200 crore was given to 4 States - Rs 1200 crore to Karnataka, Rs 1,000 crore to Madhya Pradesh, Rs 600 crore to Maharashtra and Rs 400 crore to Bihar.
After the first big flood of 2018, the state had initially estimated a loss of Rs 20000 crore and all the Centre then offered was Rs 600 crore. Later, Minister EP Jayarajan said that, following the recession of water levels, the total loss is Rs 40000 crore. In November 2018, another Rs 2500 crore was sanctioned for Kerala. However, the state has maintained that the full amount has not been remitted.
After the 2019 floods, the Disaster Management Authority of Kerala, estimated a loss of Rs 2101 crore. But after the floods of 2019, the Centre has not sanctioned any major relief. A seven member team from the Centre had come in September to visit the flood hit and landslide affected areas but there has been no update after that.
The decision, excluding Kerala from the list of states receiving calamity-relief funds, has come under severe criticism from the state government. Kerala's Finance Minister Thomas Isaac has called the decision unfortunate.
"Kerala had submitted a memorandum stating a loss to the tune of Rs 2109 crore. However, Amit Shah and his team have not allotted even a single rupee for the state, but from the news reports it is understood that Rs 5,908 crore was allotted to some other states. This discrimination we have seen at the time of 2018 floods also. At that time, the BJP had carried out propaganda that no assistance should be given for the state. The propaganda was followed up by a decision to deny permission for the ministers of the state to visit foreign countries to seek assistance. Malayalis from across the globe had been willing to help us. The Kerala ministers’ foreign visits were planned also to coordinate the helping sources. The ban on the visit was a direct blow for the state."
He added that the the BJP has taken an adamant stand that Kerala shouldn’t receive even a single rupee more to tide over the flood distress.