The Kerala government has asked the Centre to go by the 2016 National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP) while taking a call on the UAE government’s offer of Rs.700 crore in assistance or compensate the State for the loss of such a hefty sum.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi had welcomed the UAE government making the Rs.700 crore offer. It is only natural for nations to help each other. Moreover, the National Disaster Management Plan, brought out by the Central government in May 2016, does state clearly that any voluntary offer of assistance from other countries can be accepted,” Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told a news conference here on Wednesday.
Vijayan for talks
While Mr. Vijayan said the the State would try to resolve the issue through discussions, if necessary with the Prime Minister himself, Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac tweeted that the Centre must either accept the UAE’s offer or compensate the State.
The relevant section of the chapter on ‘International Cooperation’ of the NDMP reads: “As a matter of policy, the Government of India does not issue any appeal for foreign assistance in the wake of a disaster. However, if the national government of another country voluntarily offers assistance as a goodwill gesture in solidarity with the disaster victims, the Central Government may accept the offer. The Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, is required to coordinate with the Ministry of External Affairs, which is primarily responsible for reviewing foreign offers of assistance and channelising the same. In consultation with the State Government concerned, the MHA will assess the response requirements that the foreign teams can provide.”
“National Disaster Management Plan Chapter 9 on international cooperation accepts that in time (of) severe calamity voluntary aid given by a foreign gov can be accepted. Still if Union Gov chooses to adopt a negative stand towards offer made by UAE gov they should compensate Kerala,” Dr. Isaac tweeted.
The Chief Minister greeted India cricket captain Virat Kohli for having dedicated India’s victory in the Third Test in England to the suffering people of Kerala.
“On behalf of the State government, I greet the Indian cricket team members for having remembered Keralites at the time of their victory in England,” he said.