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Rs.50-crore Central aid for flood relief

The amount being released from National Calamity Contingency Fund

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Central Government has issued orders sanctioning Rs.50 crore from the National Calamity Contingency Fund (NCCF) as grant-in-aid to the State for relief necessitated by natural calamities.

Announcing this after Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting, Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan said that CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat had taken up the demand for assistance with the Centre after Mr. Karat was briefed on the situation and the plan of Ministers to stage a dharna in New Delhi. Mr. Karat had subsequently informed him that the Centre had agreed to release Rs.50 crore from the NCCF.

However, Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy too had intervened and stated that the Centre would release an advance of Rs.50 crores. As there was doubt whether it would be from the NCCF, the State had sought a clarification. It had now been clarified that it would not be an advance from the relief fund receivable as part of the allocations to the State as per the recommendations of the Finance Commission.

LDF to discuss dharna

Mr. Achuthanandan said that the Left Democratic Front would discuss and decide on whether a dharna by Ministers should be staged in Delhi to press for the State’s demand in view of the latest development. A decision would be taken before August 20, the date fixed for the dharna. The Members of the Parliament from the State were already registering their protests.

Asked about the remark of Mr. Chandy that the Centre had provided whatever the State had asked for, the Chief Minister said that Mr. Chandy was saying so because the Congress was ruling at the Centre. However, the Congress Members of the Parliament from the State had a different view as could be seen from their protests. Union Minister Vayalar Ravi and Thennala Balakrishna Pillai had joined the protests.

“If Mr. Chandy was right, why should they be doing so,” the Chief Minister asked.

Salem division

He recalled that that though Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad had promised to take a decision on the new Salem Railway Division after discussions with the two States, Mr. Prasad had not kept the promise. Minister of State for Railways R. Velu was questioning the self-respect of the State.

He said the State had appreciated the gestures of the Central Government in sanctioning the Vallarpadam Transhipment Container Project and the Thiruvananthapuram international airport terminal.

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