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UAE denies having offered Rs 700 crore aid for Kerala: Playing politics on natural calamities is wrong
The present day politics has become so ugly that politicians even don't hesitate to play politics over dead bodies. Thus, when brouhaha was raised by the opposition over the fake news that the UAE government had offered Rs 700 crore as flood relief assistance to Kerala, which the Modi government had refused to accept, it didn't come as a surprise.

Even after UAE denied to have made any such offer, the controversy refuses to die down. In fact, the goal post has now changed as the opposition is now alleging that the Central government is not helping the state. Questions have also been raised on why the Central government only gave Rs 600 crore to Kerala while the state had asked for Rs 2000 crore.

I also went through many social media posts which said that while the Central government gives thousand of crores for statues to be built but had ignored the rightful demand of the Kerala government while the state is reeling from an unprecedented natural calamity. On some of portals I even tried to reason with them presenting facts but when one is bent upon politicising an issue, you can't reason with them. However, I present the real picture to set the record straight.

I hail from Odisha, a state which faces nature's furry in terms of cyclones and floods frequently. The super cyclone of 1999 shouldn't be forgotten in which as per official figures close to 10000 people had perished along with hundreds of villages being wiped out from the map. Thus, I closely understand the relief, rescue and rehabilitation process.

The government of India has deployed unparalleled number of defence personnel, NDRF teams, helicopters, boats and so on in Kerala for relief and rescue operations. Those teams are not only rescuing people but also shifting them to temporary shelters. The Kerala state government is not paying anything for that. In fact 90 per cent of rescue work was carried out by the Central agencies because of their expertise. The state government had to take care of just 10 per cent of affected people. The Central government also granted an additional Rs 100 crore to the state for rescue work. The Prime Minister of India reached Kerala on the midnight of 17 August and after taking stock of the situation granted an additional Rs 500 crore to the state government as relief.

Only after the flood water recedes, the real loss can be assessed and the cost of rehabilitation estimated. Here also, restoration of highways, railways, telecommunication and many other services falls under the Central government. Then state government will do an estimation of rehabilitation which falls under their scope which will be scrutinised by the Central government and then the Central government will release the required funds. This is the standard procedure which is always followed.

During the 1999 super cyclone, the Congress-led state government had accused the erstwhile Vajpayee-led NDA government at the Centre of showing step-motherly attitude towards Odisha by not declaring the '1999 Odisha cyclone' as a natural disaster. However, the Central government did its job by quick restoration and rehabilitation work. Similarly, when the Congress-led government was in power at the Centre and Odisha was ruled by Navin Patnaik-led BJD government, Odisha suffered many natural calamities including category-5 Cyclone Phailin in October 2013. The UPA-II government did what was required as per the above procedure irrespective of rival political parties ruling in state and the Centre. Hopefully governments of the future will continue with this trend whenever a natural calamity strikes.

But playing politics over such natural calamities will only damage the credibility of the politicians and their respective parties.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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