: Senior Congress leader V.M. Sudheeran said here on Monday that the Oommen Chandy government was attempting to cover up the irregularities that had taken place in the name of the Aranmula airport project by taking 10 per cent equity in the controversial project.

Mr Sudheeran was speaking after inaugurating a public meeting organised by the people’s action council, Palliyoda Pallivilakku Samrakshana Samiti, to mark the 400th day of the agitation against the airport project.

Taking strong exception to the United Democratic Front (UDF) government’s approach to the private airport project, which, according to him, was against the interests of the local population, the Congress leader said there was every reason to suspect that the government was acting in the interests of certain financial forces.

According to him, a proper techno-economic feasibility study, foolproof environment impact assessment, an unbiased introspection into the claims of the promoters and above all the interests of the local population should have been made before giving the in-principle clearance for the project. The previous Left Democratic Front government had failed in doing this for reasons best known to the people concerned. Unfortunately, Mr Chandy who was Mr. Achuthanandan’s successor had committed the same mistake, he alleged.

Mr. Sudheeran said Mr Chandy had made a grave mistake by sidelining the crucial report submitted by the Legislative Committee on Environment on the airport project.

This was tantamount to belittling even the authority of the Legislative panel, Mr Sudheeran added. The Assembly panel chaired by the Congress MLA C.P.Mohammed had unanimously opposed construction of the airport project by converting the paddy land and wetland at Aranmula, he said.

Mr Sudheeran said he had personally handed over a copy of the Assembly panel’s findings to Mr. Chandy so as to ensure the UDF government did not make any mistake on the issue.

He called upon the government to cancel the decision to take 10 per cent equity in the airport project and act strictly as per the findings and recommendations of the Assembly panel.