Kerala CM to lead dharna against Centre

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New Delhi, Oct 16 (UNI) Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan and his 15 Cabinet colleagues of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government will stage a dharna before the Parliament House here tomorrow in protest against the "gross negligence" of the Centre towards the southern state.

Eighty-three-year-old Mr Achuthanandan would lead the march to Parliament from the Jantar Mantar Road, near the Kerala House, at 1100 hrs.

A spokesman of the LDF told UNI here that MPs from the state and the Members of the state legislature belonging to the LDF would participate in the satyagraha which is timed with the opening day of the 22-day-long sitting of Parliament.

The agitation comes three months after the Left Parties fell with the ruling Congress Party at the Centre and withdrew support to the Manmohan Singh Government on the Indo-US Nuclear deal.

"The neglect of Kerala by the Centre continues. In fact, it has shown an increasing trend in recent months," the spokesman said, indirectly hinting at the non-cooperation by the Centre in the light of the withdrawal of support by the Left Parties.

He pointed out that the Chief Minister and his cabinet colleagues had been repeatedly representing before the Prime Minister and his team in the cabinet on issues of vital importance for the state. But there was no adequate response from them.

"The protest is to get immediate redressal of state's grievances from the centre, of which the major issues are the reduction of ration quota, central pool electricity share, and failure of Central government to grant state's long standing demands like Peninsular Railway Zone and IIT." Listing out instances of negligence towards Kerala, the spokesman said there was an allotment of 113,420 tonnes of rice per month for distribution to APL (Above Poverty Line)cardholders up to March 2007. This was reduced by the Centre to 21, 334 tonnes from April 2007 to 17,056 tonnes in April this year and has completely stopped since September this year." He said the share of electricity from the Central pool was reduced considerably. The state was to get 1188 MW electricity per month from the central pool, including 145 MW from unallocated share from the Central Generating stations, but the availability of power from central pool in May 2008 was 820MW. It had gone down to 764 MW in June, 745 MW in July and 667 MW in August, putting the state to severe power crisis.

The spokesman said though the Prime Minister promised that an IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) would be set up in the state, this was not done though the Centre had recently decided to start eight new IITs.


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