Special Correspondent

Governor's reference to laws passed by Assembly is way off the mark: Chandy

Thiruvananthapuram: The Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF), on Friday, termed the Governor's address to the Assembly as the Left Democratic Front's "document of non-performance."

At a press conference soon after the address, Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy said the Governor's reference to noteworthy laws passed by the Assembly was way off the mark, because the legislation he referred to had been rendered non-functional. The self-financing colleges and debt relief Acts had turned out to be non-starters. The Government failed to implement the self-financing colleges Act, which was finally struck down by the High Court. The Government could not admit a single student to any of the professional colleges under its much-touted legislation. It had also failed to clear the uncertainty that prevailed in the higher education sector, he said.

The Debt Relief Commission remained a relief only on paper. The Government had failed to fully constitute the panel. It delayed announcing the names of all commission members, not to mention its failure to establish a mechanism to release relief amounts to the farmers. Mr. Chandy also criticised the Government's liquor policy for seeking to increase the number of toddy shops at a time when toddy was in short supply.

The reference to the proposed inquiry into utilisation of tsunami funds also came under attack. His reference to an allocation of Rs. 1,441 crore for tsunami relief was a repetition of his address last year. The Government had not been able to spend a single rupee from the funds allocated for tsunami relief. Moreover, the Government had now proposed to utilise the funds under the tsunami-relief programme in the nine coastal districts even while accusing the previous United Democratic Front Government of taking a similar decision. Mr. Chandy said the Governor's address promised to make the first Communist Ministry headed by E.M.S. Namboodiripad as the Government's model. This would mean that it would push the State into an abyss in terms of development, Mr. Chandy observed.

The Kerala Congress (M) leader K.M. Mani said the Governor's address ignored the agriculture sector. He had come up with the sole consolation of renaming the Agriculture Department. The Government had also failed to give any indication on whether it would come up with a moratorium on farm loans in order to give relief to cultivators. The Indian Union Muslim League leader C.T. Mohammedali criticised the Government's liquor policy and the "failure" to tackle price rise.

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala said the Government had converted the Governor's address into a mere ritual. The document did not have any project worth its name that would address the agriculture crisis and unemployment.