Rejecting the CPI(M) stand that it will not hold any agitations in the Bolgatty land scam, CITU leader M.M. Lawrence has said that the port trade union will go ahead with its earlier agitation plans.
Reiterating his stand on Tuesday that the deal between the Cochin Port Trust (CPT) and the LuLu group should be cancelled, Mr. Lawrence, also a CPI(M) State committee member and president of the Cochin Port Labour Union (CITU), said the trade union adopted a stand independent of the party. The party congress of the CPI(M) and its Central Committee too had earlier adopted the line that trade unions and feeder organisations should function independently, he said.
The union’s stand was not against industrialist Yusuff Ali but against the CPT, which had leased out the land to him. Industrialists are out to make a profit. The port violated its mandate in leasing out the land for non-port activities, which should be corrected.
A meeting of the coordination committee of trade unions would finalise the agitation plans, he said.
“If Mr. Ali had abided by all rules and regulations regarding the Bolgatty project, why should he quit? Instead, he should stay back and fight,” Mr. Lawrence said, referring to the announcement by the investor to walk out of the deal.
Mr. Ali should invest in the State more and bring more investors. The CPI(M) was not against private investments. The government led by E.M.S. Namboodiripad had invited several investors to the State. Gwalior Rayons of Kozhikode and Premier Tyres of Ernakulam were the results of such initiatives. The CPT should put an end to its practice of leasing out public land to non-port activities. The port was stretching the provisions of the Major Ports Act to defend its decision to allot its land for non-port activities, he said.
Land grab denied
Regarding allegations of his family members illegally possessing port land at Mulavukad, Mr. Lawrence said he had not encroached upon any public land. “I belong to Madamakkal family in Mattanchery which has branched out to many parts of the State. It’s a big family with a large number of members. Many of them even do not share my political views. If any of the family members violates the law, I cannot be blamed for that,” Mr. Lawrence said.
He also called upon the CPT to end its practice of providing huge discounts to various companies, resulting in diminishing revenues.
The expenses for retaining the Central Industrial Security Force at the port should be collected from the licencees operating from there. Compensation should be collected from the firm which had failed to convert the Rajiv Gandhi Container Terminal and the International Container Transshipment Terminal into a transshipment port, he said.
Union general secretary B. Hamsa and vice-president K.V.A. Iyer were present.