Rahul says Rs 500 crore relief not enough, Modi government ‘playing politics’ over flood relief

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New Delhi, Aug 18 (IANS) Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said the financial assistance of Rs 500 crore announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for flood-ravaged Kerala was “nowhere near enough” and said the calamity should be declared a “national disaster.”

The party declared that all its elected representatives will contribute one month’s salary for flood relief and accused Modi government of “playing politics” on the issue.

Hours after Modi sanctioned Rs 500 crore to the flood-battered state, apart from Rs 100 crore announced earlier by the Centre on August 12, Gandhi said that theCentre should not vacillate as the people were suffering.

“Dear PM, increasing funds allocated for Kerala relief to Rs 500 crore is a good step but nowhere near enough. It is critical you declare the floods as a National Disaster. Please do not vacillate as the people of Kerala are suffering,” Gandhi said in a tweet.

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Party’s communications in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala said the amount sanctioned by the Centre was a “pittance.”

In a series of tweets, Surjewala said that unprecedented devastation can’t be subject matter of “partisan politics.”

“Tragic that PM Modi announced a pittance of 500 cr for Kerala flood relief against the State’s demand of 2000 cr. Painful that Modi Govt is playing politics over flood relief merely because BJP has no presence in the state,” he said.

“Does Modi govt comprehend that Kerala flood has left 357 dead, 4 lakh are in shelter homes, 30,000 houses destroyed & 16,000 km of roads damaged. Why is Modiji not declaring Kerala flood a ‘National Calamity’? Stop punishing flood ravaged Kerala,” Surjewala said.

“Floods, human tragedy & unprecedented devastation can’t be subject matter of partisan politics as is being done by Modi Govt in Kerala,” Surjewala said.

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Gandhi had earlier in the day urged the Prime Minister to immediately declare the floods in Kerala as national disaster.

The decision to donate a month’s salary was taken at a meeting of Congress general secretaries, party in-charges of states, legislative party leaders and state unit chiefs, which was presided over by party chief Rahul Gandhi.

Briefing reporters after meeting of Congress office-bearers, Surjewala said the Modi government should come forward to help Kerala where over 180 people have died and property worth over Rs 3,000 crore has been damaged due to floods.

“It was decided that all Congress MPs in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Congress MLAs across India and party MLCs will donate one month’s salary, which will be sent through the AICC for relief measures in Kerala,” Surjewala said.

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He said it was also decided that all Congress governments will come forward to help the people of the state.

Surjewala said Punjab government has already donated Rs 10 crore to the Kerala Relief Fund and JD-S and Congress- government in Karnataka has also donated Rs 10 crore to the relief measures. The government in Puducherry has also donated Rs 1 crore.

He said special relief committees will be formed in adjoining states including Karnataka, Tamil Nadu apart from Puducherry. Material collected by Congress workers will be sent to the people of Kerala.

Surjewala said the party also noted with concern the grave situation due to floods in Karnataka and some other parts of the country.

–IANS

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