Centre’s decision to refuse flood aid from other countries unfortunate: Kerala minister

CM Pinarayi offers solace allays fears in relief camps

Pinarayi landed at the Christan College ground at Chengannur one of the worst-affected areas in the state. Twitter CMO Kerala

Many people from Kerala live and work in the Gulf region.

On Tuesday, state Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters he had requested a $1.4bn loan from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government to finance reconstruction efforts.

While Kerala has seen unprecedented loss of life and property, and the local government is willing to accept foreign assistance, the Centre has chose to stick with its 14-year-old policy by refusing to accept financial aid from the global community. India has not accepted foreign aid for any natural disaster since 2004. Singh's anti-aid attitude, announced in 2005 in the aftermath of tsunami, isn't a policy that finds place in any of the statutes that govern calamities. However, if the national government of another country voluntarily offers assistance as a goodwill gesture in solidarity with the disaster victims, the Central Government may accept the offer. No, says Union government, it is below our dignity to accept foreign aid. It's the collective wisdom of the bureaucrats who drafted the NDMP two years after NDA came to power, which conforms to acceptable rationale and which must be respected. Apart from major financial assistance from countries like Japan, India made a decision to do away with numerous foreign funds that were being offered by others. It's common knowledge that in bureaucratic and legal parlance the word may is the default choice in preference to must.

On Wednesday, an ambassador from Thailand Chutintorn Gongsakdi tweeted that Indian has made it clear that will not accept foreign aid for flood relief in Kerala.

"The Government of India deeply appreciates offers from several countries, including from foreign governments, to assist in relief and rehabilitation efforts after the tragic floods", the MEA said in a late night statement. Today, not only is India regarded as one of the fastest emerging economies, its capabilities in other areas are also taken note of, especially when it sends team to help other countries during disasters.

However, the Central Water Commission has since initiated the process for preparing inundation maps and completed them for at least 12 dams in Kerala, a chief engineer in the state said.

A number of countries have offered aid to help rebuild a rain-battered Kerala, totalling around Rs 740 crore, but India has politely declined all offers. A resident of Thrissur in Kerala, Hanan said the money was donated by various people after her struggle to fund her studies and take care of her family. She particularly praised Sri Lanka for making a contribution at a time when that country had barely recovered from the previous year's tsunami.

The Maldives government had also promised money for the floods.

There have been many reports of snake bites and reptile sightings, even a crocodile, inside people's mud filled homes after the waters drained out.

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