Thiruvananthapuram: Despite the revenue department recalling its officials from the Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod semi-high-speed SilverLine rail corridor project, the controversial plan still resonates in Kerala with the State Assembly witnessing two pledges — one for and another against — over the project.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan pledged that the project would be implemented with the Centre's approval. Opposition Leader V D Satheesan made a counter pledge, saying it would not be allowed even if the government gets the approval.
The pledges were the offshoot of a notice for an adjournment motion by Congress MLA Roji M John.
John sought to know what had happened to the marker stones planted as part of the survey for the project. The planting of stones has rendered landowners helpless. The project has been put on hold. What about the cases registered against those opposed to the project, asked the MLA.
The chief minister retorted saying the pressure the Congress and the BJP have been putting on the central government might be delaying the project. But the approval will come, if not today, tomorrow.
"What you consider as your victory will defeat the state. And hence, you haven't won," Vijayan's statement reminded of great powerful quotes.
The chief minister's statement, however, made Satheesan understand that the project would not take off. "Humility won, arrogance lost," he quipped.
It would be wrong to consider that politicians are blind to the plight of those who enjoy a drink. The government has decided to hike the sales tax on Indian-Made Foreign Liquor by four per cent.
The government justified the bill introduced in the assembly, saying it was to compensate for the higher turnover tax levied on liquor manufacturers.
The workers' unions were planning to demand a decrease in turnover tax to avoid job loss, which would also cause a loss to the state exchequer. The government decided to increase the sales tax to tide over the loss.
Though the sales tax would be increased by four per cent, ministers K N Balagopal and M B Rajesh tried to pacify the tipplers, saying the price of liquor would not increase. Balagopal even went to the extent of offering to provide anyone in the House with the price list of liquor.
Rajesh, meanwhile, informed the House that he had been getting complaints of the non-availability of liquor.
P C Vishnunadh found something fishy in the move to slash the turnover tax. Nenmara MLA K Babu suggested a simple solution to make the state liquor-free. Keep increasing the price until the tipplers pledge not to touch alcohol!
Minister for Animal Husbandry J Chinchurani claimed in the assembly that grass fodder cultivation has been thriving in the state. P Ubaidulla of the Muslim League was quick to counter the ministers' claim: There is no grass in Malappuram.
T Siddique of the Congress hit back, saying grass fodder has been growing luxuriantly in Wayanad.
The anti-governor bill, too, had its resonance in the assembly yesterday, while the House took up the Veterinary University (Amendment) Bill. Mathew Kuzhalnadan observed that the students need not be concerned about the chancellor. The question was if they have enough facilities to study and make their life secure.