IAF bills Rs 114 crore for Kerala flood rescue

IAF bills Rs 114 crore for Kerala flood rescue

A file picture of Kerala flood. Photo credit: AFP

The much-hailed rescue operations of Indian Air Force (IAF) in Kerala during last year's floods have now caused a shock to the cash strapped Kerala government as it received a bill of Rs. 114 crore from the IAF in connection with the rescue operations.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has urged the centre to waive the bill considering the weak financial position of the state, especially in the backdrop of the massive losses caused by the flood.

The IAF had operated as many as 517 sorties of fixed-wing aircraft and 634 sorties of helicopters during the floods, rescuing over 4,350 persons and airlifting about 1,500 tonnes of load, mainly relief materials, the Centre had earlier informed the Parliament.

In a letter sent to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday, the Kerala Chief Minister said that 2018 floods and 2017 Ockhi had caused massive destruction to Kerala. The estimated amount required for the restoration of the damages caused by the floods was about Rs 31,000 crore. But the state only received additional assistance of Rs 2,904.85 crore from the National Disaster Response Fund, which was meagre compared to the state's needs.

Citing these, Pinarayi Vijayan urged Rajnath Singh to exempt the payment of Rs 113.7 crore bill of the IAF considering the situation of Kerala.