Accusing the Centre of neglecting Kerala’s ambitious Vizhinjam port project in the Union Budget, former Ports Minister and CPM leader M Vijayakumar on Friday said the largesse offered to nearby Tuticorin port in the budget can be suspected as a move to torpedo the Vizhinjam port.
“Among the 20-point demands of Kerala to the Centre, assistance for Vizhinjam project topped the list. But the Centre not only turned a blind eye to these demands, it also went ahead and announced new ports in West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh, besides announcing a Rs 7,500-crore project for Tuticorin port, close to Kerala,” Vijayakumar said at a news conference.
Alleging a “national as well as an international conspiracy” behind “torpedoing” the project, Vijayakumar said Finance Minister P Chidambaram is also a party to it. “Is this is a budget for Tamil Nadu? Isn’t Vizhinjam port a national asset for which regional considerations should be put aside?,” he asked.
“On an international level, Cyriac Kodoth, a relative of Chief Secretary Jose Cyriac, has approached the International Finance Corporation against the project,” Vijayakumar alleged, saying that with the Union Budget already presented, only the Prime Minister can now intervene and provide assistance to Vizhinjam. Vijayakumar said an all-party delegation, along with MPs and Union Ministers from Kerala, should meet the Prime Minister seeking his intervention in expediting the project. “When Kerala’s demands were neglected, all eight Union Ministers should have at least threatened to resign, if not resign, from their posts,” said Vijayakumar.