Chief Minister Oommen Chandy silenced Opposition Leader V.S. Achuthanandan in the Assembly on Wednesday noting that almost all decisions regarding the Aranmula airport were taken by the previous government led by the latter.

“As many as 17 decisions regarding the airport were taken during the LDF rule. You had directed the Pathanamthitta Collector to take immediate steps to facilitate starting of work on the airport and report to you,” the Chief Minister told the Opposition Leader.

Mr. Achuthanandan said his note in the petition submitted by the promoters was in the form minutes and did not amount to an order.

Mr. Chandy retorted, citing records, that the Collector had taken steps for mutation of the land acquired by the promoter company citing the directive of the then Chief Minister as an order. He also recalled that CPI(M) leader M.A. Baby had said in the Assembly that the previous government had erred in giving the go-ahead for the project.

The exchange took place as Mr. Chandy was replying to the debate on the motion of thanks to the Governor for his address to the Assembly moved by Benny Behnan (Congress).

The Chief Minister lamented that there was no discussion on Plan expenditure during the current year, Annual Plan for the coming year, which was to be finalised on Friday, and the State’s memorandum to the Finance Commission or the Mission 2030 programme of the government as the Opposition chose to focus on political and other issues.

Mr. Chandy said the government’s programme focussing on development and care was bearing fruits. Infrastructure projects such as the Kochi metro, Vizhinjam port, Kannur airport, and the mono rail projects were being realised.

Progress had also been made in implementing five of the ten proposals made by Sam Pitroda such as coastal shipping and e-governance programmes.

Kerala was the first State to declare subsidy for goods transport by coastal shipping. It was also ahead of the other States in e-governance with the e-district programme implemented in all districts.

The government had also fulfilled its promise to provide rice at Re.1 a kg in 100 days where as it took the previous government five years to fulfil its election promise of rice at Rs.2 a kg.

While illegal lotteries flourished during the LDF rule, the present government had stopped their sale and introduced the Karunya lottery to provide assistance for medical treatment to the poor.

Another lottery to provide assistance for marriage of girls from economically weaker sections was on the anvil. The government had also carried out several welfare schemes besides the Zero Landless (Citizen) project and the Snehapoorvam programme for care of orphans.

He said a State such as Kerala could not approve of the Gadgil or Kasturirangan report on the Western Ghats. Only the BJP and the Opposition Leader supported the Gadgil report. Even Deputy Leader of the CPI(M) in the House Kodiyeri Balakrishhan could not approve of it, not to speak of farmers of the State.

He noted that prices had not gone up for subsidised gas cylinders. The price rise was applicable only to cylinders supplied in excess of the entitlement of nine subsidised cylinders to a consumer.

The Centre had agreed to provide two months more to the consumers to link their Aadhaar and bank account for getting subsidy. If 100 per cent linking could not be achieved in two months, the government would get the time extended.

He denied that there was any ban on recruitment as claimed by the Opposition. As many as 1.04 lakh persons had been appointed during the past 30 months. Even new posts were being sanctioned when needed urgently.

After the Chief Minister’s reply, the House adopted the motion for 72 votes against 62.

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