Opposition walks out of Kerala assembly again

February 27th, 2008 - 2:43 pm ICT by admin  

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 27 (IANS) Protesting a land deal, the Congress-led opposition walked out of the Kerala assembly Wednesday for the second day in succession. Before leading the walkout, leader of the opposition in the assembly Oommen Chandy alleged the Left had one set of rules when out of power and another when in power.

“When my government had sanctioned land in Palakkad for industrial purpose, the then opposition leader V.S. Achuthanandan and the present Electricity Minister A.K. Balan opposed it saying that it was a corrupt deal. But now in power, it has been sanctioned. Why do we have these different set of rules?”

Industries Minister Elamaram Kareem is under a cloud because he handed over 3.20 acres of land in Palakkad to three industrial units at a cost of Rs.500,000 whereas the current market price is estimated at Rs.30 million.

“We are pro-development and we have only one set of rules. Why is Achuthanandan now silent? It would have been only transparent had you given out land for industrial purposes to the real needy. Is MP Distillery a small-scale industry? There should be transparency and there are hundreds of investors waiting to start a small-scale industry,” said Chandy.

This is the third land deal for which the Achuthanandan-led Left ministry is facing flak.

Kareem defended the sale saying MP Distillery will start a food-processing unit there.

“Land is not allotted on the basis of market value for industrial purpose. If we do that, we will not be able to bring any industries,” said Kareem.

K.C. Venugopal, former Congress minister who sought leave for an adjournment motion on the issue, said the chief minister spoke of the land mafia being on the prowl, “but he is silent because his own ministers are now indulging in this”.

“At the same place, the National Highway was given 60 cents of land at a cost of Rs.27,500 for each cent of land but for the three industrial units, the cost of each cent of land was Rs.1,749. Is it not corruption? We need a judicial probe into this,” said Venugopal. A cent is a local land measurement unit; 100 cents equal an acre.

Achuthanandan and Electricity Minister Balan were present in the assembly but kept quiet.

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