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Water shortage major issue facing Industries Minister

Written by: Staff
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Kochi, Mar 30 (UNI) Drinking water shortage and problems faced by the business and fishing communities have emerged as the major issues confronting Kerala Industries Minister V K Ebrahim Kunju as he bids for reelection from Mattacherry Assembly constituency against CPI-M central committee member M C Josephine.

Participating in a 'face to face' session at Ernakulam Press Club today, both candidates focused their attention on drinking water shortage and the general backwardness of the area, which is a suburb of Kochi and includes the tourist attraction of Fort Kochi.

Mr Kunju of IUML claimed to have solved 70 per cent of drinking water problems faced by the area's residents and said the remaining 30 per cent would be tackled within a year. He had also paid attention to other developmental needs of the area and got five new boat jetties, new transformers and roads constructed, Mr Kunju said.

Speaking of the poverty in the area, Mr Kunju said Rs 4.67 crore had been spent this year alone as part of a major poverty alleviation programme focusing on self-employment and women's employment.

Contradicting the Minister's claims, Ms Josephine said the area was reeling under various problems and women were the worst-affected. Commuters had to pay a high toll to use the BOT bridge connecting Mattacherry to the town. This had affected traders of the area and the Minister had done nothing to redress their problems, she said.

Fishermen too were facing severe problems and had received little assistance from the state in the aftermath of the tsunami, she added.

On Mr Kunju's remarks about the need for a CBI probe into the Mattancherry BOT bridge, constructed during the previous LDF rule, Ms Josephine said her party was not afraid of any probe.

UNI ARC AA MSJ BD1715

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