‘Kerala to fast-track infrastructure projects’
Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala's new United Democratic Front government will fast-track infrastructure projects that had been in cold storage for the past five years, Governor R.S. Gavai said Friday, even as he blamed the previous Left Front government for leading the state into a debt trap of Rs.77,900 crores.
"Major infrastructural projects have been taken out of cold storage and are being acted upon and when implemented in the next five years, will take the state through one of its best periods," Gavai said in his first address to the 13th Kerala legislative assembly.
He also complemented the Congress-led government of Chief Minister Oomen Chandy for quickly acting on important issues.
"In this short period (38 days), this government has acted positively on long-delayed issues like providing relief to the victims of endosulfan (poisoning)," Gavai said.
The Chandy government was sworn in May 18 with a wafer thin majority of 72 members against the 68-member Left Democratic Front led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).
Gavai also pointed out that the previous Left Front government, which had repeatedly blamed the union government to hide its own failures, had pushed the state into a debt trap of Rs.77,900 crores.
"The fiscal deficit rose to Rs.6,913 crores and the revenue deficit to Rs.4,522 crores. Corruption and inefficiency became the hallmark of the previous government," the governor noted.
He added that his government will give priority to creating jobs, improving the law and order situation and controlling prices.
Former chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan was not impressed, saying the governor had been taken for a ride by the Chandy government.
"All what Chandy said in his 100-days programme launched last month was read out on Friday. The governor, perhaps knowing that he has been asked to read out what Chandy announced earlier did not read out the entire text because of the repetitiveness," Achuthanandan said.
"Most of what has been announced is the already launched programmes of my government and what they did is to camouflage that and make it appear as their own programmes," he added.
Former finance minister and CPI-M legislator Thomas Isaac refuted Gavai's claim that Kerala was in a financial crisis.
"I demitted office with a treasury balance of Rs.2,000 crores and what more do they need to make a beginning? It is foolish to say that the state is in a debt trap," said Issac.