‘Precious 100 crore’: Union and Kerala ministers spar over flood relief amount
A day after Home minister Rajnath Singh sanctioned ₹100 crore for flood-ravaged Kerala, a war of words broke out between the state’s finance minister who termed the grant inadequate and Union minister of state for tourism KJ Alphons who accused him of not having visited the affected areas.
Some 40 people have lost their lives in unprecedented rainfall in Kerala, with the state government pegging its damages at ₹8,316 crore. The Left government in the state had sought ₹1,220 crore from the Centre to tide over the crisis.
On Monday, Kerala finance minister Thomas Isaac took to Twitter to indicate that the “precious” ₹100 crore was “from the regular disaster management fund due to Kerala”.
Alphons termed the remarks “political” and alleged that Isaac did not visit the worst-affected areas, reports news agency PTI.
During a media interaction at the Indian Women’s Press Club in the national capital, Alphons said, “Thomas Isaac is complaining all the time. This is a completely political statement. During the UPA rule, ministers from Kerala never visited the state in the event of a disaster unlike under the current regime.”
“We went there; the Home minister, I, MoS (Home) Kiren Rijiju, we all went. Isaac never visited his constituency Alleppey during these floods. What is he talking about? I have asked for a special package for Kerala,” PTI quoted Alphons as saying.
Alphons further said that there are clear guidelines for providing relief for disaster-hit states and the government has followed prescribed norms to offer assistance to Kerala. He said there was no scope for any “discrimination” against any state.
(With inputs from PTI)