LDF walkout marks first day of monsoon session

The monsoon session of the Kerala Assembly began on Monday with a walkout by the Opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) members to protest against what they termed the government's failure to save the State from garbage menace and the rising incidence of fever.

The Opposition, which raised the issue through an adjournment motion notice given by V. Sivankutty (CPI-M) accused the government of having failed to go beyond loud declarations about projects aimed at removing the mounting piles of garbage across the State and alleged that it had failed to make adequate preparations to treat lakhs of people reporting at hospitals across the State with fever.

Responding to the Opposition charge, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the government had evolved a three-pronged strategy to find short- and long-term solutions to the menace. Earlier, the government could do nothing because it was handicapped by the non-availability of technologies which involved the separation of plastic material, waste processing at source, and setting up of six major garbage treatment plants in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kottayam, Kochi, Thrissur, and Kozhikode, he said.

VS charge

Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan pointed out that though the government had promised funds for pre-monsoon cleaning, such infusion of funds had not had the desired effort. The government, which was quick to order Vigilance investigations, should do something of the sort to see where the money had gone and why it could not produce any result, he said. Earlier, seeking leave for the motion, Mr. Sivankutty said the current situation was the result of gross negligence by the government.

Funds earmarked

Urban Affairs Minister Manjalamkuzhi Ali told the House Rs.237 crore had been earmarked this year for solid waste management. The entire piled-up garbage in the capital could be removed if the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation cooperated with the government, he added.

Mobile clinics

Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar said, if necessary, special mobile clinics would be pressed into service in all districts to tackle the fever threat. Three mobile clinics had already started operating in the capital and three special wards were being readied at the Thiruvananthapuram medical college hospital to treat fever patients, he said.