In what could be deemed as a case of political discrimination, the Centre has excluded Kerala from a calamity relief of ₹5,908 crore released to seven States on Monday. Kerala was one State that was battered by heavy flood in two successive years, 2018 and 2019, and is still struggling to source funds for rehabilitation of the victims.
The decision for releasing the additional assistance from the National Disaster Relief Fund was made after a high-level committee meeting chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi. A majority of the beneficiaries of the latest release are Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled States such as Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Tripura, and Assam. Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh too have got their due from the additional assistance cleared after the meeting.
State government officials at the Secretariat or the Resident Commissioner in Delhi are yet to get any response from the Centre to the State’s repeated pleas for funds, government sources said.
Earlier, a sum of ₹3,000 crore was sanctioned, against a demand for ₹5,000 crore, after the first bout of floods hit the State.
Last year’s flood
The Centre has not sanctioned any major relief after the flood wreaked extensive damage in the State last year, sources said.
The decision comes soon after the Centre rejected the design for a carnival float the State had presented for the Republic Day parade in Delhi. Kerala had been in the forefront of the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 agitations and the Kerala Assembly had passed a resolution against it.
This may have prompted the Centre to ignore the State’s plea for more funds for rehabilitating flood victims, sources said.