Hibi seeks shifting of Kerala capital to Kochi; State trashes demand

Pinarayi, Hibi Eden
Pinarayi Vijayan and Hibi Eden. Photo: Manorama

New Delhi: The Kerala Government has officially rejected a demand raised by Lok Sabha member Hibi Eden through a private Bill in Parliament to shift the state capital from Thiruvananthapuram to Kochi.

Hibi, a Congress MP from Ernakulam, had moved the private Bill during the Parliament session in March this year. Subsequently, the Union Home Ministry sought the opinion of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government led by the CPM in Kerala on the matter.

In its letter, the Union Home Ministry wanted the state government to take an immediate decision on the MP’s demand in order to proceed with further measures.

However, the state government rejected Hibi’s demand outright. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan took the stand that the suggestion was impractical and made a note to this effect in the file.

Manorama News has obtained copies of the Bill as well as the Centre’s letter to Kerala.

The state government feels that a shift of the capital from Thiruvananthapuram is unnecessary as the city has enjoyed the status since the formation of Kerala. Moreover, the entire basic infrastructure needed to function as capital already exists in Thiruvananthapuram. On the other hand, Kochi is a metro city which faces lack of space for further expansion and development.

In such a situation, shifting the capital for no reason will cause a huge financial burden for the state government.

In his Bill, Hibi said that people from northern districts of Kerala find it difficult to travel to Thiruvananthapuram for various purposes as the city is situated at the southern tip of the state. However, the Kerala government has countered this argument by pointing out that Chennai, the capital of neighbouring Tamil Nadu, is also located at one corner of that state, which is more than twice the size of Kerala.

Meanwhile, Adoor Prakash, another Congress MP from Kerala, said that his party had held no discussions on shifting the state capital. “It isn’t easy to change the capital. Thiruvananthapuram has always been the capital of Kerala. Shifting of the capital is a matter that doesn’t need an urgent discussion,” he added.

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