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Floods are a common occurrence in India as imbalance in climate every year causes lot of variation in rainfall geographically. But the floods in Kerala have not only caused havoc on unprecedented scale, but also politics has taken the upper hand over humanitarian aid to the victims. While the state needs more than 2,000 crore for relief and rehabilitation, the center is neither providing necessary assistance nor allowing other nations and foreign Non- governmental organizations to help the state. This is not only petty party politics but also reflection of traditional aversion towards south.

Different attitude

Addressing a press conference, the TPCC Treasurer Gudur Narayana Reddy said, ‘ ….. It took more than 10 days for the centre to declare the Kerala floods as ‘severe calamity’. Compared to this, the centre was quick in declaring ‘ natural calamity for floods in Uttarakhand ….’ (BJP’s indifferent attitude turned Kerala floods into ‘ severe calamity’: congress, ythisnews.com). He said that PM should treat all states equally and act above party lines. The BJP has very little political representation in south India except in some parts of Karnataka, Telengana and AP. Hence it is not bothering about the devastating floods in Kerala. Even Rahul Gandhi said that the PM should stop discriminating between BJP ruled states and non- BJP ruled states. ( indianexpress.com , August 19, 2018). He also advised congress governments in states to come forward and help the people of Kerala in this hour of tragedy. All Congress MPs, MLAs, MLCs will donate one month salary, he said. The BJP indifferent attitude is deplorable.

The CPM leader Karunakaran said in Lok Sabha that this is one of the worst floods in the history of Kerala .( July26, 2018, firstpost.com) and expressed displeasure that centre has not given the due after Okhi devastating cyclone.

Discrimination

South India has been discriminated against in many ways. Though it has about 20% of India’s population, it contributes about 30% of total taxes. ( Jan Gan Man Ki Baat , Episode 292, August 22, 2018, thewire.in). Analysing the discriminatory attitude, Vinod Dua explains that South India’s share in total GDP is 25% but it gets only 18% in return. For example, Tamil Nadu if it contributes one rupee, it gets only forty paisa where as UP gets one rupee eighty paisa for every rupee. Kerala gets only twenty five paisa for every rupee it earns for Delhi. The present finance commission allocates grants according to 2011 census. As south India controlled its population compared to north, much of the money earned by south is consumed by North India.

But, when it comes to assist coastal states of south India, discrimination prevails. Kerala contributes sizeable amount to GDP but when the hour of tragedy in the form of severe cyclone or flood comes, the Center is very late to respond. With close to 400 or above deaths and lakh of people displaced, wavering on the question of accepting aid from other nations is regrettable. The aid given by center is insufficient and if it is not able to compensate fully, it should allow other alternatives to assist flood victims so that they receive relief materials without any obstacles quickly . Citing reasons for non – acceptance of aid as ‘ below dignity’ may be a ridiculous response to natural disaster of mammoth proportions

Sheshu Babu is a writer from India

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