UAE denies Rs700-cr Kerala flood relief plan: report
24 August 2018
Amidst an ongoing slug fest by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and its allies in Kerala over the centre blocking a Rs700-cr aid announced by the United Arab Emirates for the flood-ravaged state, UAE ambassador Ahmed Albanna is reported to have told The Indian Express that there has been no official announcement so far by the UAE on any specific amount as financial aid.
While Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan is crying foul over the centre’s stand against accepting foreign aid for flood-hit Kerala, the Narendra Modi government at the centre holds that India does not need any foreign help at this juncture and that the country is capable of addressing the state’s needs at this juncture.
"In line with existing policy, the government of India is committed to meeting the requirements for relief and rehabilitation through domestic efforts," the external affairs ministry said in a statement on Wednesday. The Left government in Kerala was quick to react.
"This is a dog in the manger policy," tweeted Kerala finance minister Thomas Isaac. The floods in Kerala, the worst in a century, have left over 350 dead since 8 August.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also made it clear that his government wants to make sure that the aid, whether in kind or in cash, goes to the needy and no middleman, not even government functionary, is allowed to part with aid meant or the flood-hit.
Meanwhile, UAE Ambassador Ahmed Albanna is reported to have told The Indian Express Thursday that there has been no official announcement so far by the UAE on any specific amount as financial aid.
“The assessment of relief needed for the flood and aftermath is ongoing. Announcing any specific amount as financial aid, I don’t think it is final, since it is still ongoing,” Albanna was quoted as saying.
“All that has happened is that UAE’s Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has formed a national emergency committee. The main goal was to look into sourcing out funds, aid material, medicines and other things for our friendly people and friends in Kerala, who have been hit by the unfortunate flood.” Albanna told the Indian Express.
The UAE ambassador also made it specific that his government has not so far announced a Rs700 crore aid plan. “Yes, that is correct. It is not yet final. It has not been announced.”
On the other hand, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, earlier this week, that the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has offered a Rs700-crore assistance to Kerala, He also spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the phone on the UAE offer.
Vijayan also said Kerala has special bonds with the emirates and that the “UAE cannot be considered as any other nation”. However, the ministry of external affairs practically ruled out accepting any UAE aid offer asper government policy.