Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan has refuted Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s claim that the Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Region (PCPIR) and the National Investment and Manufacturing Zone (NIMZ) were conceived by the previous Left Democratic Front (LDF) government. In his reply to the Chief Minister’s letter to him on the Emerging Kerala projects, Mr. Achuthanandan pointed out that both PCPIR, proposed for Kochi, and the Kochi-Palakkad NIMZ project were Central schemes which carried the stipulation that the former should have a land area of 62,000 acres and the latter a minimum of 12,500 acres.
The LDF government had not thought about any such project. All that it had considered was the establishment of a petrochemical complex in the land owned by FACT at Ambalamugal in Ernakulam and an electronic hub on a 334-acre land at Amballoor in Thrissur district. It had also envisaged various industrial units in the Kochi-Coimbatore belt. The Opposition’s objection was not to petrochemical industries or the electronic hub project.
His request to the Chief Minister was for detailed project reports and details about the land proposed to be acquired for the PCPIR, NIMZ and the electronic hubs. None of these had been provided along with the Chief Minister’s letter. He had made the request because it was not proper to acquire 13,000 acres of land for a project that was proposed in 300 acres of land and another 62,000 acres for one which was to be executed in 600 acres, so that the extra land could be made available for real estate speculators.
The people living in the proposed sites of these projects had the right to know whether their land would be acquired. The NIMZ project had provisions built into it for banning trade union activities and to dismiss workers at will. The government’s refusal to part with detailed information about these projects did not reflect the right attitude. The government should immediately pass on to the Opposition the detailed project proposals submitted to the Centre.