Marxists commission amusement park in Kerala

August 31st, 2008 - 5:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Kannur (Kerala), Aug 31 (IANS) The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) in Kerala has a unique asset in its kitty - an amusement park. The Rs.250-million park named Vismaya Infotainment Centre, set up over 30 acres at Parassinikkadavu in Kannur district, was opened Sunday by CPI-M state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan.The park, said to be the first such initiative in the cooperative sector in the country, is run by the Malabar Pleasures India Limited under the party-led Malabar Tourism Development Cooperative Society.

In Kerala, the CPI-M owns considerable assets. It has buildings, runs hospitals and holds substantial stakes in a television company.

Addressing the inaugural function, Vijayan said there was a campaign against the park alleging that it would lead to unbridled exploitation of ground water in the region.

“The park is not using ground water. From the beginning, it was made clear that the park would harvest rainwater to meet all its requirements. The park has the largest rainwater harvesting facility in the country,” Vijayan said.

Though Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan was to have inaugurated the amusement park, he could not attend the function as he remained hospitalised in Thiruvananthapuram. Achuthanandan, as opposition leader during the erstwhile UDF administration, had been critical of amusement parks as, he said, they would draw huge amounts of water for their use.

Curiously enough, none of the speakers at the inaugural function even mentioned the absence of the chief minister.

When the project began four years ago, criticism had arisen about a party of the working class promoting an amusement park. People residing near the park had also come out against the project, saying that it could cause water scarcity in the area.

Those opposed to the CPI-M venture say that it would be impossible to run a park that has 80 percent water rides, with just rainwater harvesting.

“The claim about rainwater harvesting is a ploy to fool people. The park has to either depend on groundwater or the river in the area. The park has ripped off the mask of environmental activism of the CPI-M. It is they who campaigned against the Coca-Cola plant at Plachimada (in Palakkad district) on exploiting ground water,” said K. Sudhakaran, a senior Congress leader from Kannur.

“CPI-M is now a corporate which owns a private limited company,” he said referring to the company which is running the park.

Commenting on the park, Congress state president Ramesh Chennithala said at Thiruvananthapuram that it clearly showed that the CPI-M in Kerala is a multi-national company.

“The Kerala unit of the CPI-M is the best example of neo-liberalism. It was only yesterday (Saturday) that the Left Democratic Front liaison committee gave the nod to increase the water charges in the state. The park needs 25,000 liters of water in an hour,” said Chennithala.

Entry fee at the park is Rs.300 per person for adults on working days and Rs.375 on weekends.

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