THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Opposition on Thursday staged a walkout from the Assembly protesting against the government’s decision to disband the Cauvery Cell at Kerala House in New Delhi.
Accusing the government of succumbing to ‘external influence’, the Opposition cautioned the decision would harm state’s interests in ongoing inter-state water dispute cases.
It was Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan of the Congress who raised the issue by giving notice for an adjournment motion on the issue.
The former minister cited numerous inter-state water dispute cases in which the expertise of the Cauvery Cell was being utilised.
Spirited defence by Chennithala
Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala put up a spirited defence of the Cauvery Cell and said ongoing inter-state water dispute cases will not receive the required technical backing if disbanded.
“The cell was handling around 4000 files in connection with inter-state river dispute cases,” he said. Chennithala sought to know whether the Water Resources Dept had given its nod for disbanding the cell. He said instead of doing away with an existing mechanism, the state should try to strengthen it to protect its interests.
Tourism projects will be cleared only if disabled-friendly
The government has decided to clear only disabled-friendly tourism projects in future. Making the announcement in the Assembly on Thursday, Tourism and Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran said rules will be amended in this regard.
Replying to questions, he said steps have already been taken to make existing tourism projects friendly to the physically challenged. To a related question, the minister said the govt was exploring the possibility of forming a Responsible Tourism Mission to extend the Responsible Tourism initiative across the state.
In 2012, 50 local bodies in the state had been brought under the RT initiative. In 2014, 112 local bodies were brought under the ‘God’s Own Country, People’s Own Tourism’ initiative.
‘State’s interests will be protected’
In his reply, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the LDF Government was not one which would succumb to external influences and assured the House the state’s interests would always be protected. He said a special nodal officer would be appointed and the expertise of retired officers will be sought.