New Delhi: The Centre on Thursday said ₹ 600 crore released two days ago to flood-hit Kerala was advance assistance and additional funds would be released when an inter-ministerial team visits the state again and assesses the damage.
The home ministry statement came amidst a row over accepting funds from foreign governments for Kerala after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) offered $100 million (around ₹ 700 crore) and the Centre declared that it will not take any financial assistance from foreign governments.
“It is clarified that ₹ 600 crore released by the Centre is advance assistance only. Additional funds would be released from the NDRF (National Disaster Relief Fund) on assessment of the damages as per laid down procedure," the statement said.
On Tuesday, the central government had released ₹ 600 crore to flood-hit Kerala as promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi ( ₹ 500 crore) and Home Minister Rajnath Singh ( ₹ 100 crore) during their visits to the state. The home ministry said during the floods in Kerala, the Centre has provided urgent aid and relief material in a timely manner and without any reservation. The situation has been regularly monitored by the Prime Minister and he visited the state on 17-18 August 2018.
On his instructions, the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), under the chairmanship of the cabinet secretary, regularly monitored and coordinated rescue and relief operations by holding daily meetings from 16-21 August 2018. Senior officers of the defence services, disaster management agencies and secretaries of civilian ministries attended these meetings. Kerala’s chief secretary also participated in these discussions through video conference.
Following the decisions taken during these meetings, the Centre launched one of the largest rescue operations involving 40 helicopters, 31 aircraft, 182 rescue teams, 18 medical teams of defence forces, 58 teams of the NDRF, and 7 companies of the central armed police forces along with over 500 boats and necessary rescue equipment. They rescued over 60,000 people from marooned areas and shifted them to relief camps, the statement said.
Defence aircraft and helicopters have made 1,084 sorties involving 1,168 flying hours and have airlifted 1,286 tonnes of material and carried 3,332 rescuers.
In addition, a number of navy and coast guard ships carried relief material to Kerala. The search and rescue operations and mobilisation of resources alone would cost the central government hundreds of crore of rupees.
The statement said after floods and landslides in Kerala last month, an interim memorandum was submitted by the state government on 21 July and immediately an inter-ministerial team was constituted that visited the state on 7-12 August for assessment of damages.
Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju visited Kerala on 21 July followed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh on 12 August. Since there was a second spell of floods in the state, the state government has stated it will submit an additional memorandum on the fresh damages once rescue efforts are over.