Flood-ravaged Kerala is reportedly planning to approach the World Bank to raise a loan of around Rs 3,000 crore to rebuild public infrastructure in the state, a media report said.
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, in an interview with Mint, said that the state will hold talks with all international agencies for financial aid and the process will start soon. The newspaper, quoting a state government official familiar with the development, said that the Centre is unlikely to object to the Left Democratic Fund's (LDF) dispensation in raising a loan.
“We are in touch with the Centre, they seem to agree in principle,” the official was quoted as saying by Mint.
The latest development has come at a time when Centre has refused foreign aid for Kerala, including Rs 700 crore offered by the UAE. Opposition parties, including the Congress and CPM, have trained its guns on the Centre asking it to remove obstacles in accepting foreign funds.
Union Minister Alphons Kannanthanam defended the Centre's decision, saying in refusing foreign aid for rehabilitation of the flood-hit state, the government has followed a 14-year convention it "inherited" from previous governments of not accepting such assistance in the face of natural calamities.
Joining the issue, CPM Kerala state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said Centre should make changes in the convention to get Kerala assistance from foreign countries. In a Facebook post, he termed as "wrong" the Centre's decision to refuse UAE's aid offer.
"The refusal to accept foreign assistance is an act of vengeance," Balakrishnan said. Congress termed the Centre's decision as "disappointing."
Last week, the Centre said Rs 600 crore released to flood-hit Kerala was only the advance assistance and additional funds would be released when an inter-ministerial team visits the state again and assesses the damage.
"It is clarified that Rs 600 crore released by Centre is the advance assistance only. Additional funds would be released from NDRF on assessment of the damages as per laid down procedure," the statement said.
The central government had released Rs 600 crore to flood-hit Kerala as promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Rs 500 crore) and Home Minister Rajnath Singh (Rs 100 crore) during their visits to the state.
On Sunday, Vijayan expressed confidence that funds to rebuild Kerala is not going to be a problem.
"Today across sectors people are contributing to Kerala. Just imagine how much there will be if all the working people decide to contribute one month's salary for Kerala," he told a TV channel.
"Today the issue is not about the amount but on whether the money can be accepted," he said. "In the coming days, this will be resolved."
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Aug 27, 2018 12:34 PM