The United Democratic Front (UDF) government is trying to play down the Supreme Court verdict on interlinking of rivers, Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan said here on Thursday.
Participating in the discussion on the motion of thanks to the Governor for his address to the Assembly, he said the Pampa- Achencovil-Vaipar link project would transform parts of Kerala into parched land.
Referring to the government stand that the verdict did not apply to Kerala, he called for steps to protect the State's interests.
Mr. Achuthanandan accused the government of failing to prevent recurrent attacks on fishermen at sea. He said the State had witnessed a fresh spurt in farmers' suicides since the UDF assumed power.
“During the previous tenure of the UDF from 2001 to 2006, as many as 1,500 farmers had committed suicide. The LDF government later initiated welfare measures and enhanced the pension for farmers to bring down the number of suicides. But the pension for farmers has not been disbursed for several months now,” he said. Mr. Achuthanandan said the Chief Minister's mass contact programme was nothing but a scheme to distribute money for political gain. The rice being issued at Rs.one was not fit for consumption, he added.
Refuting the charges levelled by UDF benches during the debate, he said the LDF government had done the ground work for the Kochi Metro and Vizhinjam transshipment container terminal projects. “We wrested an assurance from the Centre for a Rs.5,000 crore project to set up a coach factory in Palakkad. The UDF government scaled it down to Rs.500 crore,” he said. Mr. Achuthanandan alleged that the UDF had resorted to undemocratic means to bring the cooperative sector under its control. He added that the inquiry into the attack on a teacher at Valakam was a farce. Earlier during the debate, K.M. Shaji accused the LDF of hobnobbing with communal and fundamentalist organisations on the e-mail controversy. “While the government sought the help of service providers to trace the origin of messages with objectionable content, the Opposition imparted a communal overtone to the issue for political benefit,” he said. He said the recent spurt of violence in Kannur was politically motivated. V.S. Sunilkumar accused the UDF government of trying to sabotage the Wetland and Paddy Fields Conservation Act for the benefit of industrialists and the land mafia. He asked Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to make his stand clear on the move to do away with public taps. “Farmer suicides are on the increase, the land mafia is extending its reach across the State and the gap between the rich and the poor is widening, all due to flawed policies of the government,” he said.
Benny Behnan dared Mr. Achuthanandan to step down in the light of the Assembly committee's indictment of his son V.A. Arunkumar.