UDF firm on Kerala shutdown Feb 19

February 16th, 2008 - 4:19 pm ICT by admin  

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 16 (IANS) The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala has decided to go ahead with a statewide shutdown Tuesday as the Left government had not met any of its demands, UDF convenor P.P. Thankachen said Saturday. “We wrote several letters to Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan highlighting the need for him to pay immediate attention to various social issues. None of the demands that we have put up are political in nature, but he has not even called us for a meeting to discuss the issues that we have raised. So the 12-hour shutdown will be held Tuesday,” he told reporters here.

Issues raised by the UDF include rising prices of essential items, continuing health insurance scheme for the poor and early implementation of the central government’s old age pension scheme.

Thankachen added that the state government should declare a holiday for educational institutions across the state Tuesday because it had done the same in Kottayam district Thursday when the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) had its conference there.

“They organise protests when there is a three percent increase in fuel prices, but they are silent when the price of essential items here has gone up by 100 percent,” he said.

CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat has said that the burden of increase in global oil prices should be borne by the central government instead of the consumers.

Thankachen said the CPI-M government in Kerala should do the same.

“If the government remains silent even after Tuesday’s shutdown, we will decide on other modes of protest on Feb 21. This situation has to change,” he said.

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