Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan, CPI(M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, and LDF convener Vaikom Viswan have accused Chief Minister Oommen Chandy of having played a behind-the-scenes role in the moves to keep the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) out of the Kochi Metro Rail project.
In separate statements here on Monday, they said that the Chief Minister could not evade responsibility for the letter written to DMRC managing director Sudhir Krishna by former Kochi Metro Rail managing director Tom Jose raising questions about the authority of DMRC’s principal adviser E. Sreedharan. ‘Tom Jose is just a tool in the hands of those heading the Central and State leaderships,” Mr. Achuthanandan said.
The Opposition leader recalled that the first thing that Mr. Jose had done on assuming charge as Kochi Metro Rail managing director was to deposit funds of the company in new generation private banks. His secret parleys with Bangalore Metro authorities too had triggered a row at the time. Information that had got leaked of late showed that he had pulled the strings to keep the DMRC and Mr. Sreedharan out of the Kochi project. It was none other than the Chief Minister who had authorised him to hold talks with a private company when in Singapore last January, Mr. Achuthanandan said.
In his statement, Mr. Vijayan said that though the Chief Minister stated time and again that the government was keen on entrusting the Kochi metro project to the DMRC, things were moving in the opposite direction. The decision to place the project at the Emerging Kerala summit as an investment proposal was part of this. There were already reports that Chief Secretary K. Jayakumar and Mr. Jose had held discussions with Malaysian-Singapore companies on the project. The Chief Secretary could not have gone abroad for such a talk without the Chief Minister’s permission, he pointed out.
Mr. Vijayan alleged that the government was trying to give the contract to certain private companies. ‘Certain quarters’ in the ruling dispensation would not get to make any profit if the project were to be implemented by the DMRC. The attempt now was clearly to delay the project with the help of the Central government and, ultimately, to pass the project on to private companies, he said.
The LDF convener said the Chief Minister’s ‘foul play’ was clear from the happenings over the last few weeks. The government should stop such games and get ready to implement the project without any delay, Mr. Viswan said.