‘Grossly insensitive’: Tharoor slams Centre on Rs 113 cr flood relief bill for Kerala

Tharoor said that it is unfair to levy a fine on the state when the Centre itself has helped very little and even denied foreign assistance to Kerala.
‘Grossly insensitive’: Tharoor slams Centre on Rs 113 cr flood relief bill for Kerala
‘Grossly insensitive’: Tharoor slams Centre on Rs 113 cr flood relief bill for Kerala
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Congress leader and MP Shashi Tharoor has extended support to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on urging the Centre to exempt the state from paying the Rs 113 crore bill levied by the Indian Air Force (IAF) for flood relief operations.

Tharoor on Friday tweeted the letter sent by Kerala CM to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in this regard, saying that it is ‘grossly insensitive’ to levy a bill on the state, which is already struggling to rebuild itself after the disasters.

According to the letter written by CM to the Defence Minister, IAF had charged Rs 113,69,34,899 in connection with the rescue operations they carried out during 2018 Kerala floods. As the state is still struggling to get over from the crisis of various natural calamities which struck Kerala in the past two years, Pinarayi Vijayan asked the Centre to exempt the state from paying the amount to IAF.

“My sympathies are entirely with the Kerala Chief Minister on this request,” said Tharoor. He also slammed the Centre by saying that it is insensitive to hit a disaster-affected state with a bill of Rs 113 crore, when the Centre itself has given Kerala very little relief assistance and even denied the foreign aid offered by donors.

The state was hit by Ockhi cyclone in December 2017 and a devastating deluge in August 2018. As per the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) report of the United Nations, the state requires an amount of Rs 31,000 crore to restore the damages caused. 

Earlier, India had refused Rs 700 crore assistance offered by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for Kerala in the aftermath of the flood. As part of rebuilding the state after the flood, Kerala government had asked the Centre for financial support of Rs 2,200 crore but the Centre’s grant was Rs 600 crore. The foreign aid being denied after this had created uproar among the people of Kerala and the government.

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