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Kerala CM slams BJP-led NDA for 'halting' state highway work

Press Trust of India  |  Thiruvananthapuram 

Slamming the Centre for allegedly halting the land acquisition process for national highways in Kerala, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Tuesday said the BJP-led NDA government and the Sangh Parivar has got only one agenda and that was to destroy all the development the state has gained over the years.

He said if there was one organisation that had not contributed anything for the growth of the state, "it is the Sangh Parivar."

Vijayan also alleged that the BJP has become a political party which stands against the interest of people.

The National Highways Authority of India had recently allegedly suspended four/six-lane work and land acquisition in all districts in Kerala, except Kasaragod, resulting in stalling of the development of 1,078 km of NH and State Highways (SH) under the Bharatmala Pariyojana in the state.

Two days ago, State Finance Minister Thomas Isaac posted in his Facebook account a screenshot of a letter sent by BJP state president P S Sreedharan Pillai to the Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on September 14 last year.

The letter purportedly seeks staying land acquisition proceedings for NH 66 which passes through the Edappally-Moothakunnam route in Ernakulam district.

Vijayan said it was "shocking" to know that the BJP state president had written to Gadkari requesting that the NH development in the state be stopped.

"Behind this letter, there is a kind of sadistic attitude to watch the people here continue facing traffic snarls forever," Vijayan said.

"There were earlier attempts to stall the NH development in the state. This was due to the vested interests of certain people.

Now the BJP, which rules the Centre, has been supporting such interests and the state leadership was trying to protect these vested interests and halt road development," Vijayan said.

The Chief Minister said if the land acquisition process face further delay, the land value would increase over the year and make it difficult for the government to pay compensation.

"The BJP-led NDA government and the Sangh Parivar has got only one agenda and that is to destroy all the development the state has gained over the years," Vijayan said.

Meanwhile, Congress Leader Ramesh Chennithala sought an apology from Pillai "for taking steps against the development of national highways in the state."

"Development of national highways are a necessary for the overall development of the state. Decision halting the development of the highways has dampened the dreams of the people of Kerala.

Pillai, who had written the letter seeking to halt the work must apologise to the people of Kerala," Chennithala said.

However, Pillai Tuesday said he was being hounded from many quarters over a letter in which he claims to have sought relief for victims of cyclone Ockhi in 2017 and those ravaged by unprecedented rains in August last year.

Continuing his attack on the NDA government, Vijayan said the the state readied a package of Rs 7,340 crore for Ockhi victims but got only Rs 133 crore.

"We sought a package of Rs 5,616.75 crore for flood relief. We also sought an additional special package of Rs 5,000 crore. All we got from the Centre was Rs 2,904 crore.

Out of this, we may have to pay minimum support price for the rice and kerosene we bought during the flood season.This come up to Rs 265.74 crore," Vijayan said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, May 07 2019. 19:30 IST