The Rajya Sabha chairman and the Lok Sabha speaker yesterday jointly appealed to parliamentarians to contribute "generously" from their MPLADS funds for relief and rehabilitation works in flood-ravaged Kerala.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, who is also the chairman of the Rajya Sabha, read out the appeal signed by him and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, in presence of senior officers and the press at his official residence here.
The two also appealed to the lawmakers to consider donating a month's salary for the cause.
"Keeping in view the intensity and magnitude of the floods in Kerala, the government has declared this a calamity of a 'severe nature'," Mr Naidu said.
More than 200 people have died and over 7.24 lakh have been displaced following floods and landslips in Kerala, which has been ravaged by heavy rains in the last one week.
"Hon'ble Members are aware that there has been large-scale devastation in various parts of Kerala due to floods in the state in which many people have lost their lives and thousands are left stranded besides heavy damage ton property," says the appeal.
MPs can contribute to various development works through the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) funds according to the guidelines of the scheme.
"We appeal to the Members of Parliament to contribute generously from their MPLADS funds for relief and rehabilitation works in the affected areas of Kerala, and permissible under the MPLADS guidelines, and also to consider donating their one month's salary to this noble and humanitarian cause," Mr Naidu said, quoting from the appeal.
A senior official, who was present when Mr Naidu read out the appeal, later said according to MPLADS guidelines, in cases of natural or man-made calamity, an MP can contribute "up to maximum of Rs 25 lakh".
"In the event of calamity of severe nature, in any part of the country, an MP can recommend works up to a maximum of Rs 1 crore for the affected district," the official said, quoting the guidelines.
He also said before the appeal was issued, the Rajya Sabha Secretariat had sought to know from the central government the status on the nature of calamity.
"In a reply sent by the Ministry of Home Affairs to the Rajya Sabha Secretariat, the government said it is a calamity of a 'severe nature' for all practical purposes," he said.
BJP MP Varun Gandhi recently donated Rs 2 lakh to the Kerala Chief Minister's Disaster Relief Fund and urged parliamentarians and MLAs across the country to make financial assistance to the state, reeling under the worst floods in a century.
Mr Gandhi also appealed to all lawmakers to rise above party lines and help the flood-ravaged state.
The monthly salary of an MP is about Rs 1.3 lakh.
(Kerala has to rebuild itself after the worst floods in over a century. Hundreds have died and lakhs are homeless. Here is how you can help.)
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