India not to accept donations from foreign governments for Kerala flood relief (Photo- PTI)
India is conveying to various foreign governments pledging financial assistance to flood-ravaged Kerala that it will not accept the help, official sources said on Wednesday.
A number of countries including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar and Maldives have announced assistance for flood relief operations in Kerala.
The sources said that while declining to accept the assistance, India is conveying its sincere appreciation to the foreign nations for their offers to help flood affected people in Kerala.
While the UAE has offered $ 100 million (around Rs 700 crore) as financial assistance to Kerala, Qatar has pledged around Rs 35 crore and Maldives has announced a donation of $ 50,000 (Rs 35 lakh).
The Kerala government is understood to be unhappy over the Centre’s decision not to accept donations from foreign governments for flood relief operations in the state.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday said the state government would approach Prime Minister Narendra Modi to clear hurdles, if any, in receiving the flood relief aid offered to the state by the United Arab Emirates.
In a tweet, Thailand’s Ambassador to India Chutintorn Sam Gongsakdi said Indian government has informed his country that it will not accept overseas donations for flood relief operations in Kerala.
Official sources said New Delhi is conveying to foreign governments that it was carrying out a comprehensive assessment of the damage caused by the floods in Kerala and is capable of meeting the requirements of the state on its own.
India is also informing the foreign governments offering assistance to Kerala that it has taken a considered decision to rely solely on domestic efforts to tide over the challenge.
“Informally informed with regret that GOI is not accepting overseas donations for Kerala flood relief. Our hearts are with you the people of Bharat,” the Thai envoy tweeted.
Earlier, in a letter to Indian Association of Thailand, the envoy said he was in touch with Thai government and Thai companies present in India for extending possible assistance to Kerala.
The sources said there was no restriction on accepting private contributions including from the diaspora.
The UAE offered the assistance of Rs 700 crore considering its links with Kerala. Around three million Indians live and work in the UAE out of which 80 per cent are from Kerala, according to official figure.
The floods in Kerala, worst in a century, have claimed lives of 231 people besides rendering over 14 lakh people homeless.