Mumbai: Kerala reacted sharply on Thursday to the Centre’s decision not to take foreign help for the flood-hit state, with its Finance Minister Thomas Isaac saying that this was a ‘dog in the manger policy’.
On Wednesday, the Union government had said: “In line with existing policy, Government of India is committed to meeting the requirements and rehabilitation through domestic efforts”.
Hitting out at the Centre, Thomas Isaac said Kerala had asked for Rs 2,200 crore but were just granted a “precious” Rs 600 crore.
He further said that the Kerala government did not make any request to any foreign government for assistance but the UAE government voluntarily offered Rs 700 crore.
“No says Union government, it is below our dignity to accept foreign aid,” Isaac said intensifying his attack at the Modi-led government at the Centre.
The UAE has offered Rs 700 crore, Qatar has pledged Rs 35 crore and Maldives has announced a donation of Rs 35 lakh.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday said the state government would approach Prime Minister Narendra Modi to clear the hurdles in receiving the aid being offered by the UAE, which has three million Indians, mostly from Kerala.
The Centre has also refused help from Thailand. In a tweet on Tuesday, Thailand’s ambassador to India Chutintorn Sam Gongsakdi said, “Informally informed with regret that GOI is not accepting overseas donations for Kerala flood relief. Our hearts are with you the people of Bharat.”
The Centre is telling foreign governments that it was carrying out a comprehensive assessment of the damage caused by the floods in Kerala and is capable of meeting the requirements on its own.
The Kerala floods, being hailed the worst in a century, have killed over 237 since August 8.