KERALA

Plan panel made a tool of party politics: Isaac

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, MARCH 17. The CPI Legislature party secretary, T.M. Thomas Isaac, has accused the Oommen Chandy Government of having converted the State Planning Board into a mere tool of party politics.

In a statement here today, Dr. Isaac said the new Planning Board seemed to lack a clear perspective about the responsibilities bestowed on it.

The new Planning Board vice-chairman, C.V. Padmarajan's statement that the Board would give political direction to formulation of schemes is wrong. The Board's real duty is to examine the technical and financial aspects of the Government's political decisions and prepare projects taking into account the resource constraints of the Government.

Dr. Isaac, who had initiated the People's Plan Campaign as member of the State Planning Board during 1996-'01, said though there is the practice of eminent political leaders being appointed deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, all the other members of the Commission would be academic scholars and technical experts of eminence. He wanted to know whether the new vice-chairman could cite an exception to this norm and charged the Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy, with having made the Planning Board yet another forum to accommodate their political favourites.

Illustrious tradition

Dr. Isaac also reminded the Government that in Kerala both the vice-chairman and members have always been either technical/professional experts or academic scholars. The CPI(M) leader felt that the Chief Minister owed an explanation to the people about the circumstances that forced Mr. Ramachandran to vacate office as vice-chairman of the Planning Board. It was also noteworthy that the vice-chairman was given no role in the Plan talks between the Chief Minister and the Prime Minister.

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