Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has urged the Centre to use a “different yardstick” to gauge the destruction caused by during floods in the state. In an article in The Hindu on Friday, he said the state on its own would not be in a position to “mobilise the required resources to bridge the gap, reclaim and rebuild”.
Vijayan’s comments came in the backdrop of a blame game between the Centre and the state government over financial assistance reportedly offered by the United Arab Emirates. On Friday, the BJP government demanded that Vijayan reveal who told him about the offer. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader replied that there was no ambiguity on the matter and said businessman Yusuf Ali was his source, The News Minute reported. On Wednesday, the Centre rejected offers of financial assistance from other countries.
Vijayan pegged the preliminary assessment of losses at around Rs 20,000 crore and said the amount of loss was equal to the state’s annual plan for the current financial year. “It goes without saying that the actuals will steadily go up once the water recedes and the final assessment is made,” he said, adding that the power sector has suffered losses of around Rs 750 crore and the water sector close to Rs 900 crore.
Elaborating on the devastation wreaked by the floods, Vijayan said 372 people have died since the onset of the monsoon and more than 26,000 homes were either damaged or destroyed. Crops in area more than 40,000 hectares were lost along with more than 2 lakh poultry and at least 46,000 milch animals, he added. “Floods have washed away many multi-storied buildings, shops and commercial establishments,” the chief minister wrote. “Several roads in the state have been severely damaged, with some roads being completely washed away by the flood waters.”
He praised the rescue and relief operations coordinated by the state and the Centre, along with other agencies and organisations. “It was for the first time that such a massive rescue operation of this magnitude was conducted anywhere in India,” he said.
The chief minister thanked all the donors, the countries that have offered assistance, and the Centre. “Help from all around the world will go a long way in our efforts to overcome this calamity,” he said.