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Poll announcement stalls Kerala's major projects

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March 08, 2006 15:26 IST

With the model code of conduct coming into force, the Kerala government's much awaited programmes and development projects have been put on the backburner, a setback to Chief Minister Oomen Chandy, who has been readying to go to the polls focusing on the development mantra.

The announcement of assembly elections has deprived the Congress-led United Democratic Front the political mileage that it was zeroing in on the development programmes, and it has to wait until a new ministry assumes office.

The foundation stone laying of Vizhinjam port, the signing of Smart City project, the inauguration of Petronet LNG terminal and implementation of pay commission recommendations were the major programmes that were declared and now put on hold.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cancelled his visit to the state soon after the elections were announced. He was to lay the foundation stone of the Rs 4,500 crore Vizhinjam Deep Water Transhipment Terminal at Thiruvananthapuram and the Rs 2,000 crore Petronet LNG terminal at Kochi.

The government had last year cleared the building of the transhipment terminal at Vizhinjam, which had been awaiting clearance for the last ten years. Another feather in Chandy's cap was the inking of the Rs 1,500 crore Smart City project, which was also cleared by the cabinet.

The agreement with the Dubai Internet City was to be signed this month at Kochi, which had been under many a legal wrangle and also came under the Opposition's attack.

Another big blow is the Election Commission asking the government to put on hold its decision to implement the Pay Commission recommendation. The government had announced a new pay packet for the employees and a hike for pensioners from this month.

However, Chandy seemed to be adamant on implementing the programmes in his final days in office. Soon after the EC announcing the Elections, he said they were not going to shy away from the responsibilities. While paying full respect to the rules and regulations of the model code of conduct, we would do our job, he said.