Thiruvananthapuram: Hitting back at Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy's development claims, CPI-M veteran and Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan on Tuesday said such "hollow" talks were made with a view to "covering up corruption" under the ruling UDF regime.
Joining issue with Chandy who had on Monday highlighted the "achievements" of his government in the past five years, he alleged in the guise of development, backwater wetlands and paddy fields had been assigned during the last days of the Congress-led UDF regime.
"Corruption involving several crores of rupees have taken place in these dealings," the 93-year old leader and star
campaigner for the LDF for the 16 May assembly elections, said in a Malayalam daily.
"There is also a hidden move behind this to garner votes in the coming polls by appeasing religious and communal
forces," the former Chief Minister said.
The UDF government had come under attack recently for giving sanction to an eco-tourism project in 420 acres of land at 'Methran kayal', the backwater paddy fields at Kumarakom in Kottayam district, and for a super speciality medi-city project in 47 acres of paddy land at Kadamakuddy in Kochi.
Referring to UDF's flagship projects like SmartCity IT park, Vizhinjam port, Kannur International Airport and Metro
Rail project, Achuthanandan said all these were initiated during the rule of the previous LDF government.
"This government held inauguration festival of these projects even without completing them," he alleged.
On SmartCity, Achuthanandan charged that what happened behind the project was a "real-estate" business.
Taking a dig at the UDF for conducting "trial flight" at Kannur Airport, he said, "An aircraft of Indian Navy landed at the airport where the work of runway has not been completed and signal tower yet to be set up."
On Metro Rail in Kochi, he said the project, conceived by LDF, had been delayed due to hurdles created by the then UPA government at the Centre.
"In the last five years, the UDF government had only conducted a trial run for two km of the 25 km-long metro
project," Achuthanandan said, adding "the truth is that they were not able to start or complete the project."
Criticising the government for awarding to Adani Group the construction contract of Vizhinjam International Deepwater Multipurpose seaport project, he said the project was being implemented in such a manner that the port had been virtually handed over to them.
The Marxist strongman said he failed to understand the logic behind entrusting the operation of the port for 60 years to Adani group, who would invest below Rs 2,500 crores only.
"This way, the Chandy government was actually cheating people by making hollow statements on development and people have started realising the fraud behind all these," he added.
Chandy had on Monday said that the opposition onslaught on him during the last five years was far worse than hitting on opponent "below the belt".