Former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Wednesday wrote to PM Narendra Modi, urging him to make suitable modifications in the governmentâ€™s policy so that foreign financial aid can come into the country. He termed the decision quite disappointing for the people of Kerala.
This comes after reports suggested that the Centre was unlikely to accept Rs 700 crore of financial aid offered by the UAE, since it would amount to reversing a 15-year long convention that was first adopted in the wake of the tsunami in 2004.
Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac too waded in on the issue on Wednesday and said he was surprised that the Centre was blocking the UAE's financial aid to the flood victims when it had extended only Rs 600 crore so far.
"We asked for Rs 2,000 crore, they (Centre) could give us only Rs 600 crore. I don't know why they should deny some other government's help," Isaac told NDTV news channel.
Meanwhile, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan said that the UAE "cannot be considered as any other nation".
"As I understand, the UAE on its own has proposed this aid. The UAE cannot be considered as any other nation as their rulers have underlined," Vijayan told the Indian Express in an interview.
"Indians, especially Keralites, have contributed immensely in their nation building," he said.
The daily quoted Vijayan as saying: "I do not intend to enter into any politics over it. Let's study and understand the nuances."
Chandyâ€™s letter is reproduced below:
Sincerely express my gratitude to you for visiting Kerala in order to assess the gravity of devastating flood situation and to feel the sufferings of our people. Unfortunately, I am sorry to say that the financial assistance announced by Government of India is quite disappointing as far as the magnitude of the crisis is concerned. We are expecting reasonable monetary help to wipe the tears of our poor people and to bring them back to normal life.
It is a great relief to the people of Kerala that so many kind-hearted persons & social organizations across the Country and abroad consider this disaster as their own matter so that they offer unbelievable help to us for managing this tragedy. His Excellency Shaik Mohammed Bin Sayid Al Nahya of UAE expressed his philanthropic attitude by put forwarding financial assistance of 700 crores of Indian Rupees to Kerala.
Now reports being spread that Government of India denied permission to accept this great monetary help. This decision is quite disappointing to the people of Kerala. Policies should be as such to eradicate the sufferings of the people. If there exist any obstacles against the acceptance of foreign financial aid, kindly look in to the matter seriously and bring suitable modifications.
I hope that Government of India will take further initiative steps to provide maximum possible assistance to Kerala as you have decided to treat this flood as â€˜calamity of severe natureâ€™. Also hope that you will take lenient attitude so as to declare this mishap as â€˜National Calamityâ€™ which will ensure better reconstruction and rehabilitation processes to the drowning people of Kerala.
With IANS inputs