THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A day after Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala came up with serious allegations against fisheries minister J Mercy Kutty Amma and industries minister E P Jayarajan regarding a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the US Company EMCC International for deep sea fishing on Kerala coast, he has released pictures of the meeting.
Talking to reporters at Cantonment House here on Saturday, Chennithala maintained that the Rs 5000 crore contract which would see 400 trawlers and two mother ships engaged in fishing in the deep sea of Kerala coast would not have happened without the knowledge of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Chennithala urged before the LDF Government that the contract should be immediately withdrawn as it affects the prospects of the fishermen who are already under dire straits with depleting fish wealth.
Putting the two ministers in a quandary, Chennithala alleged that they are feigning ignorance. Informing that there is more evidence with him on the contract, Chennithala informed that the American company's director Shiju Varghese has said in the letter addressed to Jayarajan that he had already held talks with the fisheries minister.
The letter had sought permission to get the cabinet nod where it also says about the concept note submitted before the fisheries department.
"When I raised the allegation, Mercy Kutty Amma had claimed that I am not in a proper mental frame of mind. It is the fishermen in the State who are going to lose their mental frame of mind which the fisheries minister should realize. In the letter addressed to the industries minister, the US Company clearly states about their meeting with Mercy Kutty Amma in New York, US. Four acre land was given to the company in record speed within a span of three months and still the two ministers are feigning ignorance about the contract. It is the Chief Minister who is coming under a cloud of smoke and he should take immediate steps to cancel the contract", said Chennithala.
A timeline of events:
1. The EMCC officials held talks with fisheries minister during April 2018
2. The State Government changed its fisheries policy during January 2019 which saw the Government coming up with a new order
3. Fisheries department principal secretary K R Jyothilal held talks with EMCC authorities during July 2019
4. On 2-08-2019, the EMCC authorities submitted a detailed concept note to Jyothilal
5. The MoU was signed on 28-2-2020 at Kochi between EMCC and State Government for the Rs 5000 crore project
6. On 03-10-2020, the company seeks four acre land at Pallipuram Mega Park
7. On 03-02-2021, four acre land has been sanctioned by Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation
8. On 02-02-2021, a MoU between Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC) and EMCC was signed related to 400 deep sea trawlers and five mother ships, seven fishing harbours and processing plants
The Opposition Leader also informed that following the controversy, the details on the contract which was put on the KSINC have since disappeared.