A writ petition relating to the Bolgatty project filed in the High Court by a construction worker may shift the focus of the issue from the alleged undervaluation and violations of norms in the allocation of 27 acres of land in the island reclaimed by the Cochin Port Trust (CPT) and leased out to the LuLu group for construction a convention centre.
Though the writ petitioner Shelson Antony wanted a directive to the State government to take steps to implement the project, the government has been acting only as a facilitator.
Basil Attipetty, counsel for the petitioner, said the petitioner wanted the government to intervene and rectify any shortcomings in the lease deed signed between the Cochin Port Trust and the LuLu group.
He said the Union Ministry of Shipping, under which the Kochi port came, was bound to take steps to resolve the issue.
The land was under the control of the Centre, though legally the land was in the possession of the port, he said.
The Port Trust was the owner of the land and had only leased it out. Therefore, the Central and the State governments should intervene in the issue to safeguard public interest.
However, Sivan Madthail, High Court lawyer and commentator on public issues, said that the filing of the writ petition seems premature.
He said it was mischievous to rush to the court with a petition even before the allegations against the project were inquired into.
There were serious allegations regarding the leasing of land. The petitioner did not seem to be an affected party.
It created a suspicion in the mind of the people as to whose interests the petitioner was trying to protect by filing such a plea under the guise of protecting employment opportunities, he said.
The district committee of the CPI(ML) will hold a protest on June 10 on the reclaimed land on Bolgatty island, demanding, among other things, the cancellation of a land deal between Cochin Port Trust and the LuLu group of companies.
A statement issued by the district secretary C.G. Biju claimed that the port trust had given away Rs.1,000-crore worth of property for just Rs.72 crore and wanted the government to distribute the land to fishermen and landless people. CPI(ML) activists will erect huts on the reclaimed land as part of their protest action, said a statement issued here on Saturday.
‘Opposition driving away investors’
Finance Minister K.M. Mani on Saturday said the Opposition was scaring investors away from the State.
The UDF government was focussed on making Kerala an investor-friendly State and it wanted young entrepreneurs to stand by it, he said.
The Finance Minister was speaking at the inauguration of the interest subvention for entrepreneurs being offered by Kerala Financial Corporation (KFC).