‘Decisions on Emerging Kerala projects taken by VS Cabinet’

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Thursday went on the offensive by replying point by point to the allegations raised by Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan with regard to some of the projects proposed for the ‘Emerging Kerala’ meet.

Addressing a press conference along with the entire frontline leaders of the United Democratic Front (UDF) constituents here, Mr. Chandy sought to deny Mr. Achuthanandan’s charges on the electronics hub in Kochi, petroleum, chemicals, and petrochemicals investment region (PCPIR) and the Kochi-Coimbatore industrial corridor, stating that the decisions on these projects were taken by the Cabinet headed by Mr. Achuthanandan.

“Mr. Achuthanandan was the signatory to all the Cabinet decisions on these projects. His charges cannot be justified at any cost,” he said.

Listing out the dates on which the Cabinet decisions were taken, Mr. Chandy said these projects were also mentioned in the various budget speeches from 2006.

The Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) had sought the State government’s permission to set up an electronics hub at Amballoor in Kannaniyoor taluk in Ernakulam district.

The Cabinet cleared the proposal for the electronics hub on 334 acres of land and gave KSIDC the green signal to acquire land on the basis of negotiated purchase.

The 2009 budget speech (presented by the then Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac) also mentioned the proposals for the electronics hub and the PCPIR in Kochi.

The KSIDC was appointed the nodal agency and entrusted with the task of preparing the project report, which was later sent to the Centre for its approval.

The Kochi-Coimbatore industrial corridor project had also figured in the Cabinet meeting of April 4, 2010 and a decision on this was taken at the Cabinet meeting on April 19, 2010, with the KSIDC being appointed the nodal agency.

On September 14, 2010, the government issued an order for a detailed study on the proposal and allocated Rs.3 crore to INKEL to prepare a feasibility report.

INKEL entrusted the job to Mahindra Construction Engineering, Mr. Chandy said waving the project report submitted by the company.

He said there was no justification in Mr. Achuthanandan raising such charges after having signed on the dotted line. He said the UDF was not against criticism, but it would not brook attempts to rake up controversies on non-issues. The government wanted the cooperation of all political parties since ‘Emerging Kerala’ was a major imitative to project Kerala as an investor-friendly State. He said the Global Investors’ Meet held in 2003 had created a positive image about the State as a result of which it figured in the World Bank report in 2005 as the second-best investment-friendly State in India. He made it clear that the UDF was united in its stand on the objectives of the mega event.