Staff Reporter

Sitting MLA claims all-round development

K.K. Shaju says he was able to implement several projectsLDF candidate says UDF had failed on development frontBJP candidate says both LDF and UDF were ineffective

ALAPPUZHA: Crisis in agricultural sector, especially paddy cultivation, and shortage of drinking water are the main campaign issues in the Pandalam Assembly constituency, which is spread over Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta districts.

The United Democratic Front (UDF) candidate here is the sitting MLA, K.K. Shaju of the JSS. CPI (M) leader K. Raghavan is the Left Democratic Front (LDF) candidate and S. Girija is the BJP candidate.

At a Meet-the-Press programme of the Alappuzha Press Club on Tuesday, Mr. Shaju said he had succeeded in implementing a flood control project at Peruvelichal Puncha, the main paddy field, spread over several thousand acres, in the constituency.

He said a major part of that field which had been lying barren earlier could be brought under cultivation during the last three years. Mr. Shaju said a project for the revival of agriculture at Karingali Puncha, another big area under paddy cultivation, was in the offing.

Mr. Shaju said he had taken steps for the supply of drinking water at Pattoor and Pandalam panchayats and surrounding areas where the shortage of drinking water was a perennial problem.

He said the work on the sub-stations of the Kerala State Electricity Board was progressing at Edappon and Pandalam in the constituency, which would end the problem of low voltage.

Mr. Shaju said the roads of the PWD in the constituency had been renovated and widened. He also claimed that he had been accessible to the public as an MLA.

LDF charge

Mr. Raghavan, however, said the MLA's claims of bringing the Peruvelichal and the Karingali Punchas under cultivation were not correct and a major portion was still lying uncultivated.

Mr. Raghavan said the drinking water schemes were in paper and the public were yet to get its actual benefits.

Mr. Raghavan complained that the public sector cashew factories in the constituency were lying closed because of the apathetic attitude of the UDF Government.

Mr. Raghavan said the work on the sub-stations had actually started during the time of previous LDF Government when S. Sarma was the Power Minister. He alleged that Mr. Shaju had not done anything to complete the work. Mr. Raghavan said he would give priority for the revival of agricultural sector if elected.

BJP's grouse

The BJP candidate Mrs. Girija said the both fronts had failed to bring about the development of the constituency and were equally responsible for the crisis in paddy cultivation.

She said the LDF and the UDF MLAs who had won from the constituency in the past had not done anything to revive paddy cultivation.

She said shortage of fresh water was a serious issue in several panchayats in the constituency. Many of the colonies where agricultural labourers live do not have power connection, she said.