700 cr embarrassment : UAE says it has not made any specific offer to Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram : Amid cold war between state and Centre over financial aid from UAE, the country says it has yet to make any official offer. No specific amount was pronounced though ministers in Kerala refer to so-called Rs. 700 crore in aid, it added.

The UAE ambassador to India, Ahmed Albanna said his country has formed a committee a week ago to ensure funds reach deserving beneficiaries in flood-hit Kerala.

The committee will work with MEA(India’s Ministry for External Affairs) and the embassy to funnel money to the rightful persons, he added.

No amount that may be involved has been arrived at yet, Albanna clarified.

An estimated three million Indians live and work in UAE, of whom 80 percent are from Kerala, he said.

The Confusion
UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum first tweeted on 18 August that his country formed a committee to explore ways of helping Kerala.

Three days later, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan tweeted that UAE offered Rs 700 core in flood aid and expressed gratitude in a statement.

Soon after PM Narendra Modi’s office made it clear that aid from foreign governments are against the country’s existing policy.

Centre and state exchanged arguments over the issue and UAE clarification comes at a time when the friction is in full swing.

Kerala waiting
Kerala hit by worst flooding in a century seeks to rebuild itself and rehabilitate lakhs of its people who fled homes when floods engulfed their settlements. Around 12 lakh victims of the disaster still continue to live in relief centre maintained by the state government. Road, bridges, power stations and vital infrastructures were all ravaged by floods. Cochin Airport, one of the busiest in the country, remains shut after being inundated by floods.

 

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