THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state government has cancelled the controversial agreement with Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC) and the US-based EMCC to build 400 trawlers and five motherships. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has also ordered an inquiry into the circumstances that led to the signing of the deal.
The decision came as a face saving measure for the government as it has irked the fishermen community for the deviation from the state's policy to protect their interests. It came at a time when the fishermen community had planned a series of agitations against the deal.
The Chief Minister has also directed Additional Chief Secretary TK Jose to probe the allegations raised by Chennithala. Jose is the department head of inland navigation and the Chief Minister said that the deal was signed without the knowledge of the secretary.
The MD of the state-run KSINC, N Prasanth, would face department-level enquiry. He had signed the deal worth Rs 2950 crore to build the trawlers, mothership and development of ports on February 2. KSINC maintained that it had signed the deal as part of the Rs 5000 crore proposal that came up during the Ascent investors meet held last year.
Though the Chief Minister and fisheries minister J Mercykutty Amma claimed that they were not aware of the deal, the decision to cancel it came after the leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala came up with fresh evidence of the involvement of the government at various stages of the deal. Chennithala also alleged that the company representatives had met the Chief Minister as well.