Central aid grossly inadequate for Kerala: Yechury

Central aid grossly inadequate for Kerala: Yechury

Flood affected Kerala. Reuters photo

Describing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement of Rs 500 crore for flood-hit Kerala as "grossly inadequate", CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury on Tuesday demanded an immediate release of Rs 2,000 crore, saying the "overriding concern" among the victims is how to face the future.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Yechury, who led a fund collection drive in the national capital in the evening, said lakhs of people have suffered "unprecedented damage" and the Centre should take urgent steps for relief and rehabilitation.

"This is a rescue operation of an unprecedented dimension in the recent times...You have sanctioned Rs 500 crore as central assistance, but this grossly inadequate in the light of the extensive damage that has been caused," Yechury, who visited the relief camps in three camps, including the worst, affect Alapuzha, said.

Highlighting the victims' "overriding concern" on "how to face the future", he said massive resources would be required for the rehabilitation of these people and there is a need for more central funds.

Demanding that United Nations agencies' assistance should be sought for house constructions, he said lakhs of people have lost houses and substantial funds from Pradhan Mantri Awaz Yojna should be released.

With at least 97,179 km were damaged as on August 17, he said Modi should instruct National Highway Authority and other central agencies to deploy their resources and personnel.

"In addition, Indian Army's Engineering Corps and the Border Roads Organisations which have rich experience in building roads and bridges under difficult circumstances must be asked to assist the state government's efforts in this direction," he said adding Army Medical Corps should also be deployed to tackle health concerns.

While demanding a waiver of duties on relief materials, Yechury also reminded the Prime Minister of the discussion on the GST Bill when he raised concerns on how the states could raise resources required to meet natural resources.

The Centre had then assured that such provisions would be made when such circumstances arise, he said adding now is the time to redeem the assurance given on the floor of the House and "allow the state government of Kerala to take required measures by relaxing the concerned GST provisions".