UAE Offer Aid to Kerala: The Government Must Show Maturity

by August 27, 2018 0 comments

UAE Offer Aid to KeralaInstead of being arrogant and immature, it is high time the Government sees the act of UAE as a friendly gesture, as they aid to flood-affected Kerala victims.

What was feared the most has happened in Kerala. Even as the State is yet to recover from the disaster caused by floods, the CPI-M Government there has jumped the gun with allegations of alleged step-motherly treatment by the Centre, focussing on New Delhi’s apparent reluctance to accept foreign aid from the UAE — where millions of Malayali expats live — to the tune of Rs 700 crore. Except, it now transpires that not only has no amount been promised by the Government of the UAE but even the offer of help welcomed by both Thiruvananthapuram and New Delhi was not made officially but through a businessman based in the Gulf state. The century’s most devastating floods in Kerala have created a crisis of such magnitude that it not only raised the consciousness of people at home, who contributed generously in cash and kind and by volunteering their services for their fellow citizens in the southern State, but also received global attention. Several countries, including the UAE and Maldives, spoke immediately, and in general terms, of helping in any way possible. But matters got out of hand when Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and a couple of his ministers and CPI-M leaders started blaming the Union Government of having refused a Rs 700 crore aid package from the UAE without having checked the authenticity of the claims made on behalf of the UAE. It was then later revealed that the UAE had never made any such offer and that all the ruckus was much ado about nothing. Truly, this is deeply embarrassing. Vijayan’s statements have only underlined the sad reality that in our country even a tragedy of such proportions cannot be isolated from partisan politics. Before the UAE cleared the air, much had transpired — a needless controversy was generated when the focus of all Indians should have been on rehabilitation measures for the flood-ravaged. Others from the Opposition too could not resist the temptation to milk the issue. The Congress, for example, in an attempt to corner the Centre, promptly asked to declare the Kerala floods a “national disaster” despite knowing the rules and protocols governing national calamities not allowing for such unilateral declarations. Kerala’s Finance Minister Thomas Isaac, on the other hand, classified the Union Government’s policy — in place since 2004 — of not in the normal course of things accepting foreign aid to a “dog in the manger” attitude. Others too did not fail to point fingers at the Government for being allegedly tight-fisted in releasing funds, which in turn prompted the Centre to issue a lengthy clarification explaining all that has been and will continue to be done to bring succour to the State.

But our polity remains transfixed on pettiness and the complete lack of trust between Centre and State even during such sensitive times is an ominous sign for the future. We can only join the rest of the country in wishing a very happy Onam to all in Kerala and urging our leaders to sop embarrassing our country with manufactured rows that serve no productive purpose.

Writer and Courtesy: The Pioneer

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