Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday revealed that the Centre had charged a hefty fee for the high-profile rescue and relief missions flown by the Indian Air Force (IAF) to save marooned citizens and rush relief material during the catastrophic floods that inundated large parts of Kerala in August.
Mr. Vijayan told journalists that the IAF’s Air Headquarters in New Dehli had sent the State a burdensome bill. It ran into crores of rupees.
The Centre has stated that Kerala owed it ₹291.14 crore. A sizeable amount of this is to cover the operational expenses of the IAF.
The rest is the cost for the foodgrains Kerala had procured from the Centre to feed the flood dispossessed masses.
In effect, Kerala had to hand back nearly half of the meagre ₹600 crore the Centre had extended as flood aid. The United Nations had pegged Kerala’s loss at ₹31,000 crore. The government has requested the Centre not to charge for the foodgrains. It was yet to seek any waiver of the IAF’s fee.
Mr. Vijayan said the IAF had done excellent service to the public during the monsoon havoc. The bill sent to the government was indicative of the Centre’s attitude to Kerala, he said.
The Rebuilding Kerala Initiative (RKI) of the government would promote only architectural designs that strike a balance between human requirements and environment protection. It would use crowdfunding to reconstruct Kerala. Individuals, firms and groups could invest small to large amounts of money to fund projects cleared by the RKI secretariat.
The government would soon open a portal for raising funds from entities interested in seeing Kerala recover from the ravages of Cyclone Ockhi, Nipah outbreak and the floods.