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Nothing official says UAE on Rs 700 crore flood relief to Kerala

By Madhuri Adnal
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    New Delhi, Aug 24: At a time when Centre and Kerala government are at loggerheads over financial aid announced by United Arab Emirates for the rehabilitation of the flood-ravaged state, UAE Ambassador Ahmed Albanna told a leading daily that there has been no official announcement so far by the Gulf country on any specific amount as financial assistance.

    UAE denies Rs. 700 crore aid offer to Kerala Relief Fund

    While speaking to Indian Express, UAE Ambassador Ahmed Albanna dismissed Vijayan claims saying,"The assessment of relief needed for the flood and aftermath is ongoing. Announcing any specific amount as financial aid, I don't think it is final, since it is still ongoing.

    It is learnt that on August 21, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, made Rs 700-crore assistance offer when he spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over phone.

    According to Vijayan, this offer of assurance was made by the UAE Ruler Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and that this message was conveyed to him by Kerala-based business tycoon M A Yusuf Ali.

    However, the Dubai based Keralite industrialist Yusuf Ali said on Thursday (August 23) said that he does not know anything about this offer and that he has nothing to do with this.

    Yusuf Ali's communication department also issued a statement that they would initiate legal proceedings against media houses if his name is dragged into the controversy. Yusuf Ali's Lulu Group has already donated Rs five crores to Chief Minister's Relief Fund.

    Meanwhile, the Centre on Thursday said Rs 600 crore released two days ago 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.

    The Home Ministry statement came amidst a row over accepting funds from foreign governments for Kerala after the United Arab Emirates offered USD 100 million (around Rs. 700 crore) and the government declared that it will not take any financial assistance from foreign governments in sync with an existing policy.

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