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As flood fury ends, blame game begins over Centre’s Rs 500 crore aid to Kerala

The government’s aid has triggered a backlash from the Opposition that accused the BJP of not doing enough.

india Updated: Aug 23, 2018 08:05 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, Kochi/New Delhi
Kerala rains,Kerala floods,Narendra Modi
Fisherman help flood victims to reach their marooned houses in the outskirts of Alappuzha district of Kerala.(Raj K Raj/HT Photo)

The Union government’s response to the crisis in Kerala, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of Rs 500-crore financial aid to the state, triggered a backlash from the Opposition that accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of not doing enough.

“The PM must rise above political partisan game and come forward as a nation to help people of Kerala and other states affected by the flood,” said Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala in Delhi.

Kerala leader of opposition, Congress’s Ramesh Chennithala, said the Rs 500-crore aid announced by the PM was “too meagre in the face of such a calamity”.

CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishan, too, said the quantum of aid declared by the PM was “poor”.

Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s office said in a tweet that the state had sought Rs 2,000 crore. “The Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an assistance of Rs 500 crore. CM had requested an immediate assistance of Rs 2,000 crore. We express our thanks to Centre for the assistance,” the post said.

The BJP rejected the criticism, saying it was not the time to politicise the issue. “What the PM announced is interim relief. He has also announced help to reconstruct roads and houses. These two involve maximum expenditure. It is not proper to blame the centre for the state government’s procrastination,” said state BJP general secretary K Surendran.

Modi reached Kerala on Friday night and took a chopper ride to survey several of the affected areas on Saturday, following a meeting with state government officials.

“PM Narendra Modi expressed grief and sorrow on the unfortunate deaths and damage caused to property due to floods in Kerala. PM announced ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh per person to the next kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to those seriously injured,” said a statement from the Prime Minister’s official twitter account.

First Published: Aug 18, 2018 23:52 IST