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`Central Government bound to explain reasons for denial of security clearance'

Posted on 01 Sep 2006
The City Corporation Council on Friday accused the UPA Government at the Centre of trying to torpedo the Vizhinjam container transhipment terminal project. A resolution adopted by the council said the Ministry of Shipping had tried to scuttle the project at various stages.

Giving notice for an adjournment motion on the issue, the chairman of the Health standing committee, G.R.Anil said the denial of security clearance constituted a setback for the project at a time when the State Government had awarded global tenders and made preparations for the launch ceremony.

Mr. Anil said the involvement of Chinese companies in the consortium that had successfully bid for the project could not be construed as a security threat.

"When India and China are preparing for joint military exercises and opening up their markets, there is no reason why Chinese firms should not be allowed to participate in the Vizhinjam project. The denial of security clearance only exposes the conspiracy behind the move to sabotage the project. The decision of the UPA Government is objectionable and unreasonable," he said. The resolution expressed solidarity with the MPs from the State who had taken up the issue in Parliament.

Councillors, cutting across party lines, alleged that Union Shipping Minister T.R. Balu was trying to scuttle the Vizhinjam project. Chalai ward councillor Mohanan said North Indian lobby had joined hands with rival ports and international shipping companies to prevent the Vizhinjam project from taking off. He said the Centre's decision smacked of corruption.

Vettucad councillor Solomon wanted the UPA Government to review its decision. The UDF council party leader Johnson Joseph and the IUML leader Beemapally Rasheed accused the LDF leadership of politicising the issue. They called for a political consensus on the project.

Deputy Mayor V. Jayaprakash urged the Centre to clear the Indo-Chinese consortium that had bid for the project.

He said the move to re-tender the project would lead to further delay. Rounding off the discussions, Mayor C. Jayan Babu said the Central Government was bound to explain the reasons for the denial of security clearance. The resolution was adopted unanimously.

The meeting adopted another resolution urging the Central and State Governments to develop the Kazhakuttom railway station as a major centre in view of the heavy passenger traffic

Source: The Hindu, Aug 12