Kerala: Opposition stages walkout over alleged neglect towards local bodies

Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan said that around 30,360 bills worth Rs 656 crore are awaiting payment clearance under the development fund.
Representative image
Representative image

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Opposition staged a walkout in the assembly on Thursday alleging that the state government was trying to suffocate local self-government institutions by refusing them funds and putting a halt on local development activities.

Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan said that the first quarter of the financial year has ended with zero plan expenditure by local government institutions. He said that the concept of decentralised governance is collapsing in Kerala and accused the LSGD minister of acting as if nothing is wrong.

Satheesan said that around 30,360 bills worth Rs 656 crore are awaiting payment clearance under the development fund. Besides this, around 40,855 bills worth Rs 1,135 crore are pending in the treasury, he said. He said that the budget allocation for local self-government institutions has increased only from Rs 7,209 crore in 2019-20 to Rs 7,460 crore in 2023-24, a mere Rs 250 crore increase over four years.

He said that Kerala’s plan outlay is decreasing and the government has sidelined plans that focus on backward classes and SC/STs. He said Kerala received the highest revenue deficit grant in India worth Rs 53,137 crore and the government’s claim that it is yet to get Rs 56,700 crore from the Centre is baseless.

Responding to the Opposition charges, Local Self-Government Minister M B Rajesh blamed the Union government and its hostile attitude towards Kerala for non-disbursal of funds to the local bodies. He said that the allegations raised by the Opposition are baseless. He criticised the UDF for being silent on Central neglect towards Kerala. With the Speaker denying permission for an adjournment motion, the Opposition staged a walkout.

Portion of ceiling inside assembly building collapses

Thiruvananthapuram: A portion of the ceiling above the corridor inside the Legislative Assembly building collapsed on Thursday. However, none suffered injury. An official said that the collapsed portion was a gypsum board false ceiling

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