Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan on Monday indirectly confirmed allegations that former Public Works Minister P.J. Joseph had issued irregular orders on public works before he was dropped from the ministry last week.

Asked about the allegations at a Cabinet briefing, the Chief Minister noted that the allegations had been raised by Ministers. “Will Ministers raise such allegations if not true?” he asked.

On the induction of a new Minister from the splitter group of Kerala Congress remaining in the Left Democratic Front (LDF) into his ministry, Mr. Achuthanandan said the LDF was yet to discuss the issue. The current issue was not of the Kerala Congress led by P.J. Joseph leaving the Front, but the problems over their entry into the Opposition United Democratic Front. “Are the media not seeing the issues over the merger of the Kerala Congresses?” he asked.

The Chief Minister said that the all-party delegation meeting the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday would submit a memorandum urging that the development of the National Highways 47 and 17 should be limited to a width of 30 metres. It would also call upon the Centre to avoid development of the highways on build, operate and transfer basis. The Centre would make the investment needed for their development.