Special correspondent

Oommen Chandy told me he is helpless, says Achuthanandan

KOZHIKODE: Leader of the Opposition V. S. Achuthananadan on Saturday remarked that Agriculture Minister K. R. Gouri was defying orders of even Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

Addressing mediapersons here, Mr. Achuthanandan said: " Ms. Gouri has accused me of speaking as if I am the Chief Minister. But the fact is that I am only saying what I should as Leader of the Opposition," he said when the journalists sought his reaction to the statement reported to have been made by the Agriculture Minister.

Mr. Achuthanandan said Ms. Gouri had not so far implemented an order of the Chief Minister that was meant to settle a months-old agitation launched by teachers of Kerala Agrilculture University after she slashed their salary all on a sudden and ordered demotion of a few others.

"Chief Minister Oommen Cahndy has told me he is helpless in this matter," Mr. Achuthanandan said.

He also claimed that Ms. Gouri had not liked his raising the issues relating to the damage wrought in Kasaragod district by Endosulfan and the support he had extended to shift the piggery that was polluting a large area in Thrissur district. "These are the issues that the Leader of the Opposition should raise. When I point out that Chief Minister's assurance has not been obeyed, how could I be accused of behaving like a Chief Minister?" Mr. Achuthanandan asked.

Our Special Correspondent reports from Thiruvananthapuram: The Leader of the Opposition, in a statement issued in capital, urged the State Bank of India (SBI) to examine what is wrong with the core banking system deployed across its network of branches.

He said there were complaints about the core banking system both from the employees of the bank and its customers. The system was causing a lot of difficulties to customers. Even in branches that used to offer excellent service, it had led to problems. He said none was against the use of modern technology in the bank to improve efficiency and quality of service. Several months had elapsed since the core banking system was introduced in the SBI. Yet, the glitches in the system persist, he said.

The SBI, as the biggest public sector bank in the country, had a key role to play in the country's economic growth. Mr. Achuthanandan said this was all the more reason why the problems in the core banking system were set right without any further delay.