Centre refuses to give more funds to Kerala for flood relief

Utilisation certificates not given for 50% of money sanctioned after 2018 deluge, says Centre

January 24, 2020 09:53 am | Updated 09:57 am IST - New Delhi

File photo of flood-affected people being shifted from Eloor in Ernakulam, Kerala to relief camps.

File photo of flood-affected people being shifted from Eloor in Ernakulam, Kerala to relief camps.

The Centre will not allot any additional assistance to Kerala from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) as it has failed to produce utilisation certificates for 50% of over ₹3,000 crore fund allotted to it after the 2018 floods, a senior Home Ministry official said on Thursday.

The Kerala government had demanded an additional ₹2,000 crore from the fund after the 2019 floods. Kerala was hit by successive floods in 2018 and 2019.

“The Kerala government has not been able to spend the amount released under the NDRF for the 2018 floods, nor they have been able to provide proof of the number of victims who were helped. Till April last year, they had spent only ₹900 crore out of ₹3,000 crore sanctioned funds,” said the official.

 

More than 400 people were killed and thousands displaced in 2018 when the State was hit by one of the worst floods in over 90 years. A year later, more than 100 were killed and over a thousand houses were damaged when Kerala was again affected by floods.

“Till the time the State government spends the assistance allotted to it for the financial year 2018-19, we cannot release any additional amount for 2019-20,” the official said.

Centre’s share

As per the National Disaster Management Authority’s website, as of December 31, 2019, the Centre’s share allocated to Kerala under the SDRF is ₹168.75 crore of which ₹52.27 crore has been released. In the current financial year, the Centre has released ₹8,068.33 crore to 27 States as Central share from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF). The official said Kerala had around ₹300 crore in the SDRF kitty. Assistance under NDRF is released “in case of a disaster of severe nature, provided adequate funds are not available in SDRF”.

Kerala’s response

“The State’s contention is that its memorandum for 2019 has not been considered and approved for the amount permissible. The Centre has to sanction an amount to Kerala in view of the 2019 floods,” said Venu V., Principal Secretary, Revenue and Disaster Management, Kerala.

“Whether we have cash with us or not is the secondary question. The primary question is whether they have examined our memorandum and taken a decision on it,” Mr. Venu said.

 

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