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‘Fix existing rule’: Kerala leaders urge Centre to accept Rs 700 crore UAE aid

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said he will talk to the Prime Minister on the issue.

india Updated: Aug 22, 2018 23:55 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
Kerala,Kerala flood relief,Kerala flood
Student volunteers manage and take stock of packed relief material for flood victims at SMV School, Trivandrum's largest relief material collection centre, in Kerala, on August 22.(AFP Photo)

A Rs 700 crore offer by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to aid Kerala acquired political undertones on Wednesday as parties in the flood-ravaged state came together to urge the Centre to relax a current policy that bars bilateral financial assistance for rescue and relief operations.

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said he will talk to the Prime Minister on the issue. “Our people contributed immensely in building that nation (UAE) so it cannot be considered as a different country. There is a strong emotional boding between two nations,” he tweeted.

The Congress, too, urged the Centre to reconsider, saying rejecting the aid will send the wrong signal to the country where more than 600,000 Indians are employed. “If the rule was changed by the previous UPA regime I don’t have any problem to say the Modi government should correct it,” former defence minister AK Antony said in Alappuzha.

The CPI(M) also asked the Union government not to “cling on to technicalities”. “Rules are there to be changed. If somebody commits a mistake it doesn’t mean others should also do it. Battered badly the state needs such assistance to stand on its feet,” said R S Ramachandran Pillai, a politburo member.

The central government has already announced Rs 600 crore in aid, and also assured relief materials including food grain, medicines would be provided, as requested.

First Published: Aug 22, 2018 23:22 IST