|The party which is preparing to return to power this May now says that loans from the Asian Development Bank are welcome and that the 507-km-long Express Highway project is not a ‘monster’ but a necessity.|
The CPM’s “strategic” about-turn on certain key developmental issues which it had vehemently opposed during most part of the UDF rule is raising eyebrows. The party which is preparing to return to power this May now says that loans from the Asian Development Bank are welcome and that the 507-km-long Express Highway project is not a ‘monster’ but a necessity. The CPM-led LDF’s belligerence on these issues had put the A K Antony and Oommen Chandy governments and the people to great misery. The front had organised bundhs, hartals, gheraos, siege of government offices and blockade of ADB officials in protest the Government’s decision to go for the loan.
CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan who led a Kerala March recently said that the ADB was no more an untouchable. “What we opposed were the terms they dictated at that time in the form of certain conditionalities. But those fears are not there any more,’’ he said. However, the CPI, the CPM’s coalition partner, has a different opinion. “You will have to return one-third of the loan amount as consultancy fee to the bank. Soon, people will have to pay through their nose to get basic amenities,’’ says party State secretary Veliyam Bhargavan. The CPI has even voted against the CPM’s decision to accept ADB loans in a couple of the five city corporations ruled by the CPM.
Another about-turn of the CPM came two days ago when it voiced support for the access-controlled highspeed corridor project also called the Express Highway. This was against the party’s declared reservations in implementing the project. However, last week, two CPM legislators from Kannur and an MP came out in support of the project. “Considering the future growth and development potential of the State and also to ensure smoother flow of traffic, the express highway is a must,’’ said Mr P Jayarajan, MLA from Koothuparampa in Kannur. The highway would enable a person down south in the State capital to reach Kasargod in about five hours instead of the 14 hours required now. Environmentalists have said the highway which would be raised up to 10 metres from the ground would intercept streams and plantations which would have a negative ecological impact.