UAE relief: Ready for talks with Centre, says CM

UAE relief: Ready for talks with Centre, says CM

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan interacts with the flood-affected people at a relief camp in Ernakulam on Saturday. PTI

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Wednesday that the state government would take lead in removing hurdles regarding the acceptance of Rs 700 crore announced by the United Arab Emirates as a relief to the flood-ravaged state.

Vijayan was responding to questions, in Thiruvananthapuram, on reports that the Centre might not accept the offer. Pointing to a section in the 2016 National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP), he said the plan allowed acceptance of contributions from other countries.

“...if the national government of another country voluntarily offers assistance as a goodwill gesture in solidarity with the disaster victims, the central government may accept the offer.” the NDMP said.

The chief minister said if needed, the state government would initiate talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the matter.

He countered allegations by Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala that the government had failed in disaster preparedness. The government is scheduled to host a ceremonial farewell to Armed Forces personnel involved in the rescue and relief operations, on August 26, in Thiruvananthapuram.

Airport extends re-opening

Operations in the Kochi international airport will resume only at 2 pm on August 29. The Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) said the re-opening was extended by three days since most of the stakeholders including ground-handling agencies expressed concern over mobilising manpower.

“It was informed that 90% of their staffers got affected with the flood and are out of station. Nearby hotels, restaurants and eateries still remain closed. As central Kerala is yet to recover from post-flood trauma, it is a daunting task to arrange local commutation, logistics of catering items which will cause a cascading effect on the passengers,” CIAL said.

More than 12.1 lakh people live in 3,314 camps in the state, the Chief Minister said. A man in Kothad in Ernakulam district committed suicide on Wednesday, allegedly after returning from a relief camp to find his home severely damaged in the flood. The deceased was identified as Rocky (60).

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