THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Coming down heavily on Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his office, Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala on Tuesday questioned the state government’s decision to appoint Louis Berger as the consultant for the Sabarimala airport. Reiterating that Kerala was witnessing a ‘consultancy raj’ under the LDF government, he alleged that the government was appointing foreign consultancies on a whim, even for minor projects.
Louis Berger was appointed in 2017, even before the site for the Sabarimala airport project was identified, Chennithala told reporters. “The firm was awarded `4.63 crore just for coming up with a 38-page feasibility report. Even though the state’s Public Works Department has enough expertise, Louis Berger has also been appointed as consultant for three road projects,” he said.
Maintaining that almost all corruption charges levelled against the Pinarayi government were related to the chief minister’s office (CMO), he urged the chief minister to step down and face a CBI probe. “Treason charges have never been raised against any CMO in the past. The current CMO is facing that too,” he added. Demanding Pinarayi’s resignation, the UDF will conduct an online protest called ‘Speak Up Kerala’ on August 3, when all MLAs, MPs, and district presidents from the UDF coalition will hold a satyagraha at their homes or offices, he said.
Meanwhile, responding to CPM secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan’s allegation that he was ‘a darling of the RSS’, Chennithala alleged that the senior leader was speaking the language of communalism, which raised doubts about his eligibility to hold office as the CPM secretary. “The public has no doubt about my secular credentials. They know my DNA well. Kodiyeri is just trying to divert attention from the gold smuggling case,” he said.