Staff Reporter

Government flayed for delay in implementation

Ranni had witnessed unprecedented development during the past 10 years, says Raju Abraham Peelipose Thomas alleges sitting MLA failed to tackle water crisis in the constituencyBJP candidate alleges that LDF, UDF rule failed to develop Ranni

PATHANAMTHITTA: A `meet-the-candidates' programme, organised by the Pathanamthitta Press Club here on Saturday, has turned out to be a debate, among the main candidates in the fray in Ranni Assembly constituency, on the proposed Pampa Action Plan that is yet to get under way.

Raju Abraham, the sitting MLA and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) candidate in Ranni, claimed credit for the Pampa Action Plan.

The project aims to abate the pollution of the Pampa river which is considered the lifeline of Central Travancore region.

All-India Congress Committee (AICC) member Peelipose Thomas, who is also the United Democratic Front (UDF) candidate in Ranni, countered the claim. He said that the former Mavelikkara MP Ramesh Chennithala had been instrumental in including the Pampa in the National River Conservation Programme (NRCP). Mr. Thomas attributed the delay in its implementation to the failure on the part of the local MLA as well as the MPs representing the region, C.S. Sujatha and Francis George, in pursuing the issue.

Mr. Raju Abraham alleged that the UDF Government had failed to use the Central fund sanctioned for the first phase of the Pampa Action Plan in Sabarimala and the surrounding areas.

However, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Prasad N. Bhaskaran opposed the claims and counter-claims of the LDF and the UDF candidates. He said the NDA Government, led by A.B. Vajpayee, had included the Pampa river in the NRCP and sanctioned the fund for the Pampa Action Plan.

Mr. Prasad alleged that both the LDF and the UDF rule had failed to develop Ranni, situated in the eastern hilly tracts of Pathanamthitta.

Mr. Thomas said drinking water had become an expensive commodity in Ranni. The sitting MLA, Mr. Thomas said, had failed to tackle the water crisis, which hit normal life in the constituency.

He alleged that many mini and macro-power generation projects in the constituency had been abandoned owing to lack of ground support during the past 10 years. Mr. Abraham had also failed to facilitate title deeds (pattayam) to the settlers in Pampa Valley.

However, Mr. Abraham alleged that 5,000 families were yet to receive the title deeds for the land in their possession owing to the apathy of the UDF Government. He added a local Congress activist had written to the Chief Minister against issuing title deeds in the valley.

Mr. Abraham claimed that Ranni had witnessed unprecedented development during the past 10 years. He said that electrification of 95 per cent of the Assembly segment had been completed. The work on the third phase of the Erumely-Chalakkaym National Highway project began after securing the mandatory environmental clearance.Mr. Abraham said that though the new Taluk Hospital had been completed a year ago, the UDF Government had not sanctioned the posts of medical and paramedical staff required for its smooth functioning.

He added that the new Ranni bridge had been constructed in record time, following the caving in of the old bridge.