Tree-felling row, Kitex exit embarrass the new Pinarayi govt in first two months

Thiruvananthapuram: The second Pinarayi Vijayan Government completes two months in office on Tuesday. The Left Democratic Front Government headed by the Marxist leader had received a historic mandate to continue for another five-year term in the April election. 

The government commenced its second innings in late May by making announcements in line with the promises in the LDF election manifesto. The public had welcomed the Budget proposals on the Covid package and the 100-day action plan. 

But controversies rocked the government right from the beginning, even before the honeymoon phase was over. The government found itself cornered over the illegal tree-felling controversy. The Kitex row, which became a talking point at the national level, was a setback for both the government and the entire state.

The links of CPM or DYFI activists to crimes such as gold smuggling, contract crimes, and child abuse also put the government on the back foot. The mismatch in the Covid death figures also cast a shadow over the tall claims.

Major gains

1. After meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan got an assurance with regard to the approval for the Thiruvananthapuram Light Metro  project and the second phase of the Kochi Metro. Union government's backing for the Silver Line rail project was also obtained.

2. Announcement of a second economic package, worth Rs 20,000 crore,  to rebuild the economy battered by the OVID-19 pandemic. 3. Government's promise of 20 lakh jobs in five years, employment for 77,350 people in 100 days and housing for 10,000 people.

4. Conducting the SSLC and plus-two exams even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

5. Posting of women Collectors in eight districts and setting up of the revenue secretariat.

6. Nod for the appointment of 7,000 teachers.

7. Assistance of Rs 1,416 crore to small-scale industries.

8. Continuing the distribution of free food kits.

Controversies and negatives

1. The illegal felling of protected trees by farmers made possible by a favourable order issued by the previous LDF government. 

2. Minority scholarship policy.

3. CPM's links to Karipur gold smuggling and sexual assault cases.

4. The continuing spread of COVID-19.

5. Allegations of hiding Covid death numbers and the decision to include the excluded figures after the Supreme Court ruling.

6. Unscientific lockdown restrictions which have upset traders in particular and the public in general. 

7. The insensitive remarks of the Women's Commission Chairperson MC Josephine, who had to subsequently step down.

8. The Kitex row and the Group's withdrawal from an investment project.

9. Government's setback in the Supreme Court over the move to withdraw the 2015 Assembly ruckus case.

10. Dowry deaths and the Governor observing a day-long fast over unsafe ambience for women.

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