Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Wednesday said that the ruling and opposition fronts should unitedly raise their voice against the 'apathetic' attitude shown by the BJP-led NDA government towards the state in terms of flood relief aid.
Criticising the Centre's decision not to accept foreign aid for flood relief, he said the state had not only lost the promised UAE aid of Rs 700 crore but much more, as other nations would have also come with similar gestures. Gujarat had also received foreign aid in a similar manner when natural calamity had struck the state years ago, Vijayan said in his reply over the discussion on the adjournment motion moved by the Congress-led UDF opposition on the alleged failure of the flood relief initiatives by the LDF government.
"We have faced the deluge together. The rebuilding initiatives will also be in the same manner. So it is good to review once more the actions taken as part of the rebuilding programmes," he said, welcoming the UDF's notice for motion to discuss the post-flood initiatives. Members of the ruling and opposition fronts should unitedly raise their voice against the Union government's 'apathetic' attitude in sanctioning inadequate flood relief aid to the state, the Chief Minister said.
The centre has sanctioned Rs 600 crore so far to Kerala against the demand for a special package of Rs 5,000 crore. Vijayan also criticised the UDF opposition for taking a stand against the much-hyped 'salary challenge' initiative brought up by the LDF government to mobilise funds for the rebuilding task. A total of Rs 1,500 crore was planned to be collected through the 'salary challenge', he said, adding that the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund had so far received a total of Rs 2,733.70 lakh crore till November 23.
Moving the motion, Congress's V D Satheesan, however, said that even over 100 days after the August deluge, 20 per cent of the affected people were yet to get the immediate assistance of Rs 10,000 announced by the Vijayan government. "The Chief Minister's rebuilding initiative is full of lies," he said. "The government has failed to provide temporary facilities for those who had lost their houses in the floods. Thousands of people have lost their livelihood.
They have also not received any relief," Satheesan said. While opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala alleged that the promises made by Vijayan as part of the post-flood rebuilding exercise had not yet been fulfilled, the lone BJP MLA O Rajagopal said the government had shown discrimination in providing flood relief to the affected persons.
Though Vijayan and other ministers detailed various initiatives taken up by the government, the opposition members staged a walkout at the fag end of over three-hour-long discussion, alleging that their replies were not satisfactory and no time-bound assurance was given on disbursal of the said assistance by the state. The adjournment motion was later rejected by the Speaker, P Sreeramakrishnan.
(With inputs from agencies.)