Says Achuthanandan owes an explanation for the delay

Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy has said that the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government has brought about a loss of Rs.10,800 crore to the State by way of salaries alone by delaying the SmartCity project.

He was talking to presspersons after the ‘Kerala Mochana Yatra' led by him reached here on Wednesday. Stating that he would be commenting on Wednesday's agreement reached on the SmartCity project only after seeing its terms and conditions, Mr. Chandy said the SmartCity was a development imperative for Kerala. But Chief Minster V.S. Achuthanandan owed an explanation to the people on why the project was delayed for five years.

“Yet I welcome the project based on the adage better late than never,” he said.

The project had unlimited scope for development. The SmartCity agreement was a gain for the United Democratic Front (UDF) since it was the baby of the front. Even then reports about the agreement providing the promoters with a land freehold of 12 per cent sounded fishy, he said. The previous UDF government never considered any such freehold land provision.

He said results of the local body and Parliament elections portend what would be the outcome of the coming Assembly elections in the State. When asked whether voters could expect him becoming the Chief Minister if the UDF was voted to power, Mr. Chandy said it was wrong to nurse any such expectations.

As per the Congress tradition, a Chief Minister would be elected by the MLAs of the party after the elections, he said.

Mr. Chandy said he was leading the ‘yatra' as State chairman of the UDF. Commenting on a question pertaining to the arrest of the former Union Minister, D. Raja, Mr. Chandy said the arrest was a reflection of the established Congress policy that the law would take its course.

On the raking up of the ice-cream parlour sex scandal case, Mr. Chandy said that responsible political parties supporting allegations raised by irresponsible persons was an immature act. UDF district chairman Sooranad Rajashekaran was also present.