Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar has asked the Tamil Nadu (TN) Government to coordinate with the Central Government for the supply and distribution of humanitarian relief material to Sri Lanka. This comes after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin adopted a resolution urging the Centre to consider the State Government’s request to dispatch aid to Sri Lanka.
The Minister asked the Chief Minister to direct the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary to coordinate with the Centre for providing relief material to Sri Lanka.
The Tamil Nadu Assembly on Friday adopted a resolution urging the Centre to positively consider the State Government’s request to immediately dispatch food and life-saving medicines to Sri Lanka as the Chief Minister stressed on the need for the State to extend humanitarian aid to the island on time.
The resolution, piloted by Stalin, was unanimously passed by the House, including the opposition AIADMK and the BJP. Interestingly, apart from extending support to the Government resolution, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition AIADMK O. Panneerselvam pledged Rs. 5 million in his personal capacity, to be extended as aid to Sri Lanka.
Hours after the Chief Minister wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the passage of the resolution, Stalin had urged Modi to immediately issue directions to the Ministry of External Affairs to facilitate early shipment of food, essential goods and lifesaving medicines from Tamil Nadu to Sri Lanka. The Chief Minister underscored that Tamil Nadu has not received any official communication on its earlier requests seeking the Centre’s nod to send the supplies. The State Government has decided to provide 40,000 tonnes of rice, 137 types of life-saving drugs and 500 tonnes of milk powder for children, all valued at an estimated Rs. 123 crore.
“We are in a position to provide these. The State Government cannot supply them directly. It has to be done with the approval of the Union Government and disbursed through the Indian Embassy in Sri Lanka. I had placed a request (on the subject) with the Government of India soon after the crisis in Sri Lanka,” Stalin said.