Rajnath promises all help for Kerala, MPs want foreign aid

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New Delhi, Aug 30 (IANS) Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday assured a delegation of Kerala MPs that the Centre will provide all possible help after the delegation said foreign assistance should be allowed to reach the flood-ravaged state.

The worst floods to devastate Kerala in nearly a century have left 483 people dead, displaced thousands and destroyed property on a massive scale.

The Minister’s assurance came after 11 Kerala MPs belonging to the Congress, CPI-M, RSP, Kerala Congress (Mani) and an independent apprised him about the situation in the state and demanded more support from the Modi government.

The MPs urged Rajnath Singh to allow foreign assistance to the state as the Centre, citing a 2004 government decision, had turned down a reported offer of Rs 700 crore from the United Arab Emirates.

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The delegation included A.K. Antony, K.V. Thomas, K.C. Venugopal, K. Suresh, Anto Antony, M. K. Raghavan (all Congress), P. Karunakaran and P.K. Biju (CPI-M), N.K. Premachandran (RSP), Jose K. Mani (Kerala Congress Mani) and Joice George (CPI-M-backed Independent).

“A delegation of MPs from Kerala met me in New Delhi on the flood situation in the state. I assured them that the Centre was providing all possible help to Kerala,” Rajnath Singh tweeted.

After the meeting, Antony said all parties are united on rebuilding Kerala.

“We have demanded more funds for the state. We also urged him to waive the restriction on foreign assistance. The Home Minister has assured us that he will speak to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj over the issue,” Antony told reporters.

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The Centre has so far allotted Rs 600 crore to Kerala for flood relief.

A Union Home Ministry official said a central team was expected to visit Kerala soon to assess the damage caused and a decision on Central assistance would be taken after it submitted its report.

–IANS

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