Public donate Rs 2.55 cr to Kerala govt's disaster relief fund in a day

Nilambur flood
Rescue operations at Nilambur in Malappuram district. Photo: Sameer A Hameed

Thiruvananthapuram: Even as rescue and relief efforts are on in the wake of the natural calamity that Kerala is facing yet again, generous people are contributing to the disaster relief fund of the Kerala government without any formal call being made in this regard. The exclusive account of the Chief Minister's Disaster Relief Fund received around Rs 2.55 crore over a 24-hour period until Monday midnight, even though the Kerala government is yet to make any appeals for donations.

Normally, the disaster relief fund would receive around Rs 25 lakh to Rs 35 lakh on a daily basis. However, 15,029 people made small and large donations from Sunday night till Monday night, and a single day's collection crossed Rs 1.60 crore.

A donation challenge started on social media platforms prompts people to donate to the CM's fund.

The government is yet to calculate the losses caused by the recent floods and landslides triggered by incessant rainfall during the past few days. The government had allocated Rs 22 crore for rescue operations and another Rs 22 crore as disaster relief the other day. Though the government is facing severe financial crisis, authorities are yet to take a decision on seeking donations form the people, just one year after soliciting during last year's flood.

Noted writer makes donation

Noted writer T Padmanabhan gave Rs 1 lakh to the CM's Disaster Relief Fund. Padmanabhan, who spoke to CM Pinarayi Vijayan over the phone, said that he appreciated the rescue operations carried out by the government for the second consecutive year.

He further said that he was apprehensive about the false rumours being spread against the relief fund.

I hope my action would encourage others to follow suit, Padmanabhan noted.

Contribute to CM's disaster relief fund

People can contribute to the Chief Minister's Disaster Relief Fund using credit card, debit card, internet banking and the Unified Payments Interface (UPI). Visit the portal:

Once the donation is made, the person would receive a receipt with the finance secretary’s signature. Several people are taking part in the social media challenge by sharing the photos of these receipts. The full amount contributed to the relief fund would be eligible for income tax exemption.

However, expatriate Malayalis are finding it difficult to make donations to the CM's fund as the Union government had imposed restrictions on sending money through foreign banks ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. It is expected the curbs would be lifted this week itself.

Donations since last year

After the massive August floods of 2018, the Fund had swelled to Rs 4,356 crore and out of it Rs 2,008 crore was distributed for constructing houses and medical aid. The corpus includes the Rs 1,173 crore contributed by Kerala government employees as part of a campaign dubbed 'salary challenge' by which they donated a month’s salary in 10 instalments.

Individuals as well as communities from overseas had contributed Rs 93.93 crore, while other states had given Rs 150 crore to Kerala last year. Ministers in Kerala gave Rs 18.48 lakh, MLAs gave Rs 78.11 lakh and MPs Rs 17.10 lakh.

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