Move to pick up equities termed ‘unfortunate’

The State government should withdraw its decision to pick up equity in the Aranmula airport project as it will amount to validating the illegal actions and irregularities purportedly committed by its promoters, Congress leader V.M. Sudheeran has said.

In a letter to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Tuesday, Mr. Sudheeran termed the decision ‘unfortunate’ as the proposals lacked transparency and was fraught with lapses and irregularities.

He wanted the government to stop all steps taken in connection with the project besides initiating a factual and transparent study of the project proposal with the help of experts. The experts should be those acceptable to organisations that had raised various environmental and geological concerns, he said.

He called upon the Chief Minister, who headed the Environment Department, to send the Assembly Committee on Environment’s report to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest for its perusal. In addition, he wanted a credible techno-economic feasibility study to be done.

The Chief Minister should visit the locality to understand the popular sentiment before taking a decision, he said.

Mr. Sudheeran feared that the State government’s image would be tarnished if the project proposals were to be implemented on the basis of the promoters’ words.

The government should have consideration the report of the District Collector. It was opportunism that made the government go ahead by taking advantage of the wrong decision of the previous Achuthanandan government to give ‘in-principle’ clearance. Instead of correcting such wrong decisions, using it conveniently to justify one’s own action was condemnable, he said.

The District Collector had cancelled the entries in the land registry related to the land earmarked for the project, posing a question mark over the promoters’ claim on the property, he said.

Referring to various procedures initiated against the project, including the recommendation for a vigilance probe and police cases, Mr. Sudheeran drew the Chief Minister’s attention to the report of the Assembly Committee which had pointed out environmental issues, shortcomings in the proposals, and lapses on part of officials. The government had committed a major lapse by not adopting steps as per the recommendations of the Assembly panel, which amounted to contempt of the Assembly, he added.