Deputy Leader of the Opposition Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has said the State will soon become a ‘banana republic’ with Finance Minister K.M. Mani’s fresh allocations to the tune of Rs.298.77 crore during the general debate on the State Budget.
Participating in the debate on vote-on-account in the Assembly on Thursday, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) legislator said the decision smacked of ‘corruption to placate the members of an unstable ruling coalition.’
The pattern of allocations goes to prove that the Minister has not done the budget homework at all. The fact that the Rs.33 crore earmarked for 11 new taluks remains unchanged even after one more taluk has been added proves this. There are no allocations or clear directives either on the 22 new courts announced. The announcement on the formation of Pathanapuram taluk, which already exists, shows that Mr. Mani is using the Rs.298.77 crore to keep the UDF government from falling, he said.
Alleging that the public-private participation announced for setting up a Cybercrime Centre in Ernakulam is, in fact, an attempt to privatise the police force. With the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) already pushing for privatisation of major utilities such as the Kerala State Electricity Board, Kerala State Road Transport Corporation, and the Kerala Water Authority, Mr. Balakrishnan said this would only allow communal and private hands to manipulate even the police.
Stating that the permission given by the Chief Secretary to IAS officers to write dissenting notes on ministerial directives would lead to administrative anarchy, Mr. Balakrishnan said the controversies within the ruling front after the budget presentation show that there is no collective responsibility and that the UDF coalition is in a political, administrative, and organisational crisis.
Earlier, Opposition MLAs came down heavily on the newly announced taluks, alleging that Mr. Mani was engaging in appeasement of UDF MLAs and that the new taluks were decided ignoring the demarcation criteria set by various government commissions, including the D. Babu Paul and Alphons Kannamthanam panels.
K. Raju (CPI), who pointed out that Pathanapuram taluk already existed, said it should have actually been Punalur taluk.