Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 22 Continuing his tirade against Pinarayi Vijayan and two of his cabinet ministers for an allegedly flawed decision allowing a US firm deep-sea fishing off the Kerala coast, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala on Monday challenged the Chief Minister to order a comprehensive probe into the matter.
"Ever since I brought out this unscrupulous deal, which literally is nothing but selling the 'seas' of Kerala to a US firm, I have been attacked as a conspirator.
"I challenge Vijayan to order a comprehensive probe into this. I have no issues to face it, but will you (Vijayan) face it?," asked Chennithala.
Chennithala has said "the precious fisheries wealth of Kerala has been handed over on a platter" to a US firm EMCC, which has operations in India. Vijayan has feigned ignorance and also assured that nothing that would affect the interests of the fisher folks of the state would be taken up.
"I have done nothing wrong and the only thing I have done is brought this deal out in the open. Vijayan is feigning ignorance and the truth of the matter is, he had a meeting with the CEO of this firm at his official residence and till now he has not admitted to his meeting. Even the State Fisheries Minister J. Mercykutty who first started the talks, continue to tell lies. This Vijayan government has been telling one lie after another about this project," said Chennithala.
"This is now being perceived as a project that was the creation of officials. But, it's been three years that this Vijayan government has been talking about this project. Strangely, even the State Assembly has been kept in the dark about this project.
"Even after talks and deal was inked with EMCC, two questions asked at two different time points in the assembly, failed to get any answer, while details of other MoU's inked have been given out. So by now all know, that who is trying to keep things under wraps. I challenge Vijayan to order a probe," demanded Chennithala.
Meanwhile with Vijayan and both Mercykutty and State Industries Minister E.P.Jayarajan having been caught on the wrong foot over this deal, Vijayan is planning to cancel the entire deal.
Now all eyes are on the proposed 'coastal sector shutdown' called by various organisations in the fisheries sector to be held across the state on Saturday, to protest the dubious deal of the Vijayan government, which if implemented would sound the death knell of the fisheries sector in the state.
Incidentally trouble started for Vijayan after Chennithala released an MoU that was inked last year between the Kerala government and EMCC International India Pvt Ltd for the project," Fisheries Research & Development for the up-gradation and Promotion of Deep Sea Fishing Industry" in Kerala with an outlay of Rs 5,000 crore.
According to this project what's envisaged is 400 trawlers and five mother ships will be fishing in the sea off the Kerala coast and this has irked all engaged in this sector.
( With inputs from IANS )
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