Minister says oppn lying about allocations in Kerala budget

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 9 (PTI) Dismissing the allegations that the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram was neglected in the 2020 Kerala budget, Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran on Sunday said crores of rupees have been allocated for the city and accused the Opposition, including the BJP, was spreading fake news.

Surendran was speaking to reporters here against a campaign against the the state government, alleging 'mistreatment' to the capital city in the state budget.

'Since Pinarayi Vijayan government came to power, the city has been witnessing a lot of development projects.

The BJP makes effective use of social media and have been spreading fake news on budget allocation,' Surendran said.

He ridiculed the Opposition Congress-led UDF and said, 'No one takes them seriously.' Asked about lack of funds for the international airport here, Surendran said the government was waiting for the final decision on handing over the airport to Adani group.

'The state government will allot more funds for the development of the airport if the Centre decides to hand over its operation to the state government instead of Adani group.

'If it's given to Adani, why should we spend money on it,' Surendran asked.

The central government has already planned to privatise six airports in the country, including the one here, under the Airport Authority of India.

Surendran said Rs 1,696 crore has been allotted for various projects in Thiruvananthapuram.

'We have allotted Rs 350 crore for the Vizhinjam port.

Travancore Titanium has been allotted Rs 21 crore, Rs 100 crore for developing Kattakada as a township. Trivandrum Spinning Mill, Kerala Automobiles, all have been allotted fund,' he said.

'Under the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) over Rs 3,000 crore has been allotted for 98 projects in the district,' Surendran said.

He said Rs 544 crore has been set aside for drinking water projects and Rs 100 crore for IT parks.

He further said Rs 450 crore has been earmarked for Tourism development in the district.

The Congress and the BJP district units have been criticising the state government for the alleged 'neglect' in the state budget.

Yuva Morcha, the BJP's youth wing, had on Saturday taken out a protest march to the Secretariat here against the 'neglect faced by Thiruvanathapuram' The state government increased all welfare pensions and allocated enhanced share for pro-women schemes in the budget.

A total of 2.5 lakh new water connections, 1,000 cost-effective food courts providing meals at Rs 25, one lakh new houses/flats for homeless people by 2020-21 and 'she- lodge' enterprises in all cities were among the popular announcements in the budget presented with an introduction of the state's cash-strapped condition. PTI RRT NVG NVG