Free Press Journal

After facing flak, CM revises relief amount


This handout photograph released by India's Defence Ministry on August 18, 2018 shows an Indian man being winched up to an Indian Air Force helicopter as he is evacuated from a flood affected area in the southern state of Kerala. - Dozens of Indian military helicopters stepped up rescue operations in flood stricken Kerala state August 18 with pilots flying high-risk missions to rescue pregnant women and families from rooftops and isolate islands of land. (Photo by Handout / INDIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / INDIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS -

Earlier Rs 5 crore relief amended to Rs 20 crore

Mumbai : In the face of stringent criticism from the opposing Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has been forced to amend his earlier announcement of a paltry Rs 5 crore in financial assistance and medical relief to flood-ravaged Kerala to Rs 20 crore. On Saturday, Fadnavis had tweeted his announcement of Rs 5 crore in aid and opened the floodgates of criticism. Opposition parties severely slammed this decision on social media, compelling Fadnavis to rethink his offer. He then deleted his previous tweet.

Meanwhile, Congress legislators have decided they will donate a month’s salary towards relief funds for Kerala. The NCP has also announced that all their MPs, MLAs and MLCs will donate one month’s salary to the Chief Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund.

Dhananjay Munde, Leader of Opposition in the council first broached the subject on Twitter and questioned why the government had waited until Saturday to extend help. “Floods have taken more than 350 lives in Kerala. Whenever any state has suffered a natural calamity, Maharashtra has played the role of an elder brother and has come to their assistance. Fadnavis should follow ‘Raj Dharma’ and should immediately announce help to Kerala,” Munde tweeted.

Other opposition leaders followed suit. Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant reminisced how Maharashtra had immediately provided help to Uttarakhand during the Congress regime.

Sawant said, “Telangana, a small state, has declared help of Rs 25 crore. Punjab and Karnataka have announced support of Rs 10 crore each. Bihar and Odisha, which are supposed to be poor states – have come forward to help Kerala and Maharashtra forgot.”

Sawant reminded Fadnavis of the Congress-NCP government’s efforts in extending aid to other states. “Maharashtra had sent a team of senior officials to Odisha and Gujarat when they were hit by a cyclone and earthquake respectively. It has been part of our tradition and Fadnavis must follow it,” Sawant added.

Fadnavis has tweeted, “MCHI-CREDAI is contributing with food packets of Rs 1.5 crore, Rajasthani Welfare Association and JITO International contributing Rs 51 lakh each. Around 11 tonnes of dry food have been arranged so far, of which 6 tonnes would be sent by Saturday evening.” State bodies Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI) and Jain International Trade Organisation (JITO) have been roped in to provide assistance.

Shiv Sena MP donates salary

Dr Shrikant Shinde, MP, Shiv Sena, donated one month’s salary to the Kerala CM’s relief fund. He appealed to his fellow MPs, all party legislators and corporators from Maharashtra to come forward and contribute towards Kerala’s flood relief operations.

Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, leader of Opposition in the State Assembly, announced that party legislators would contribute one month’s salary as assistance to Kerala.