Kerala CM terms MLA's action as 'cheap political stunt'

 Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Monday said strict action would be taken against those trying to prevent government officials from discharging official duties.

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Assembly on Monday witnessed noisy scenes over the alleged attack by CPI woman MLA ES Bijimol on Additional District Magistrate of Idukki district last week as Chief Minister Oommen Chandy termed the her action as a "cheap political stunt".

CPI-M led LDF Opposition members led by VS Achuthanandan also staged a walkout in protest against Speaker N Sakthan's refusal to allow a debate on the adjournment motion on the issue sought by them.

"The legislator's action of attacking the Additional District Magistrate (ADM), who had gone to implement a court order is unjustifiable. It is a cheap political stunt," Chandy said while replying to a notice for an adjournment motion moved by the opposition.

The incident took place in Peruvanthanam in Idukki when locals were protesting re-installation of a gate on a court's order at the entry point of an estate which blocked the road, used by local people as a public pathway.

Chandy, however, made it clear that the government did not agree with the plantation owner's move to block the pathway by putting the gate. The district authorities had sought legal opinion before it took steps on the issue, he said.

When ADM Moncy P Alexander arrived with police to erect the gate, Bijimol along with other protesters reached the spot and allegedly pushed Alexander.

Replying to the notice, Revenue Minister Adoor Prakesh denied opposition charge that district officials were hand in glove with the plantation owner.

The gate was earlier removed following an order from the Human Rights Commission. However, the High Court had granted a partial stay on the Commission's order and wanted the district authorities to keep the pathway opened for public and not collect toll from public for using the road.

Prakash said the ADM had gone there not to block the road but only re-install the gate and keep it open for public for use. The MLA's action was "politically motivated", he added.

Bijimol alleged that the plantation company was illegally occupying 6,000 acres of government land and had put up several gates inside the plantation, blocking the pathway of local people.

She claimed the locals were on warpath over the issue for the past several months and the government has not taken any steps to resolve the matter.

Before walkout, Achuthanandan alleged that the government was hand in glove with the estate owners and was working for their interests.

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