Special Correspondent

UDF protest against education policy

To intensify stir against Class VII textbook

Says enough steps not taken to tackle price rise

Thiruvananthapuram: The United Democratic Front (UDF) on Tuesday decided to hold a Secretariat blockade on August 16 in protest against the education policy of the State government and its failure to perform its role in tackling price rise.

Addressing a press conference here, UDF convener P.P. Thankachan said that during the embargo period, no one would be allowed to enter the secretariat.

The blockade was announced at the end of the UDF Liaison Committee meeting which decided to strengthen its ongoing agitation.

Mr. Thankachan reiterated that the UDF would continue its agitation till the controversial Class VII textbook was withdrawn.

Grassroots campaign

The respective district liaison committees would be convened on July 19 to work out the details of a massive grassroots campaign between August 3 and 8 in the run up to the Secretariat blockade.

Referring to news reports that the government appointed expert panel had found shortcomings in its preliminary evaluation, Mr. Thankachan said the panel would find shortcomings in all the other chapters in the book.

Cancel appointments

He said apart from the demand for withdrawal of the controversial textbook, it wanted the government to cancel the appointments to the post of Assistant Grade in Kerala University.

The appointments reeked with nepotism and corruption and matters had reached a point that necessitated a CBI inquiry, he said.

The UDF, he said, felt that the Rs.45 lakh fee for NRI seats in self-financing medical institutions was exorbitant and unjustified.

The UDF also attacked the State government for failing to perform its role in tackling price rise.

There were several things that the government was required to do to check the price rise.

At a time when the people were reeling under the petroleum price hike, the State government did not have any qualms to effect a steep hike in bus fares.

Tariff hike

It was going to hike power and water tariffs.

The government had failed to announce a single measure that would provide relief for people. Many States had announced subsidy on rice and gas, but the LDF government had not announced any such relief measures.

In order to divert public attention, it had put the blame on Union government policies. It was only appropriate that the government should first perform its responsibilities before blaming the Centre, the UDF convener said.

In reply to a question, he said the UDF had announced August 16 for its embargo because it wanted to make sufficient preparation for this big event.

In reply to the questions on the textbook, Mr. Thankachan said the government should have at least shown the decency to provide the names of the authors of the book.“The persons who wrote the book might not be those accepted in society,” he said.