Tamil Nadu urges immediate aid for Sri Lanka

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Tamil Nadu urged the Indian government to positively consider its request to send immediate humanitarian aid to crisis-hit Sri Lanka.

The TN assembly adopted a resolution introduced by Chief Minister MK Stalin asking the centre to “permit the state government to send essential commodities… life-saving medicines…”

The resolution was passed unanimously.

“We can’t see the development in Sri Lanka as the neighbouring country’s internal issue. We need to extend humanitarian aid…help should be prompt, on time,” Stalin said.

The Chief Minister recalled his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on this issue but said no further action had been taken by the centre, leading him to move this resolution.

“The government of Tamil Nadu has addressed the Government of India to permit the state government to send essential commodities, including rice, pulses and milk products and life-saving medicines, to the people of Sri Lanka who are now suffering due to the severe economic crisis there. But so far no clear reply has been received from the government of India in this regard,” the TN government said in its resolution.

“… hence, the House resolves to urge the central government to positively consider the request of the Tamil Nadu government to immediately send food and other essential commodities including life-saving medicines from Tamil Nadu to the people of Sri Lanka, who are facing severe hardships.”

The Tamil Nadu government has decided to provide an estimated ₹123 crore in aid, including shipments of 40,000 tonnes of rice, 137 types of life-saving drugs, and 500 tonnes of milk powder for children.

“The state cannot supply directly. It has to be done with the approval of the union government and disbursed through the Indian embassy in Sri Lanka,” Stalin said.

In addition to the above aid, ex-Chief Minister and Deputy Leader of the Opposition O Panneerselvam pledged ₹50 lakh in his personal capacity to Sri Lankan Tamils.

Sri Lanka is dealing with its worst economic crisis in living memory. Triggered by a lack of dollars and over $50 billion due in debt payments, the country has no money to buy food, essential goods and fuel, prompting appeals to India, China and global financial bodies.

The country has now defaulted on its foreign debt payments, preferring to save limited foreign reserves for imports. The Indian government has offered over $2.5 billion in lines of credit for food and other essentials as well as two $500 million tranches of fuel aid.

This week the World Bank said it would provide Sri Lanka with another $600 million.

The crisis has triggered massive protests as people – battered by sharply rising prices of essential goods and shortage of fuel and medicines – take to the streets demanding the resignation of president Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Source: Hindustan Times