Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday lashed out at the opposition parties and a section of media for unleashing a propaganda to derail the LDF Government’s Life Mission project under which 2.26 lakh homeless and landless families have been provided homes.
The chief minister’s outburst against the opposition and section of media came in the wake of state wide agitation launched by Congress led UDF and BJP demanding the resignation of two ministers in Pinarayi Cabinet. The Life Mission project came under the scanner recently after one of the key accused in the gold smuggling case Swapna Suresh claimed that Rs 1 crore found in her bank locker was part of the commission that she received for a housing project being implemented in Wadakkancherry in Thrissur district. The Rs 20 cr housing scheme is funded by UAE based Red Crescent for 140 families who lost their houses in floods.
The commission allegations came as a bolt from the blue for the LDF Government which is all set to showcase the Life Mission project as one of its biggest achievements. The Mission which began in 2017 is aimed at making Kerala a “homeless families” free state by 2020.
“If some wrong has happened in one contract then that particular issue should be tackled. You cannot tarnish the entire Life Mission which is providing homes to the homeless,” said the chief minister while inaugurating Konni medical college in Pathanamthitta district via video conferencing on Monday.
The chief minister said those carrying out the propaganda against Life Mission should realize that people do not make decisions or judge the government’s work through news programmes. “People are witness to what has been happening in the state on many fronts, they decide according to their experience and what they see,” the chief minister said while hinting at the opposition move to make the Life Mission commission an election issue during local bodies poll slated to be held in November and assembly elections early next year.
However, the opposition is not convinced by the chief minister's arguments. The Congress, Muslim League and BJP has intensified their agitation. Workers of these parties held demonstrations and protest marches in Thiruvananthapuram, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur, Kasargod, Wayanad. At many places the protest turned violent with the police using mild force and water cannon.
Apart from the Life Mission issue, the opposition is also demanding the resignation of higher education minister Mr K T Jaleel. The minister was questioned by ED on Friday in connection with the allegations regarding aid sought from the UAE consulate during Ramzan in violation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act , 2010 (accepting foreign aid without Centre's permission), diplomatic baggage used to bring copies of Quran and gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh’s role in arranging the flood relief kits.
In a latest development, the opposition has also come out with allegations against minister E P Jayarajan’s son. The opposition leaders alleged that the minister’s son had also received kickback in the Life Mission project.
However, Jayarajan has refuted the allegations and threatened legal action against those leveling baseless charges. With the opposition parties in no mood to relent, the violent protests in Kerala are not likely to end any soon.
What is Life Mission project?
Life Mission is one of the flagship programmes of the LDF which aims to provide a house to all homeless families by 2020.
2.26 lakh houses constructed since 2017 and handed over to the beneficiary families till date
The controversial housing scheme at Wadakancherry in Thrissur district is being implemented at a cost of Rs 20 crore. The project under Life Mission is funded by UAE based Red Crescent and implemented by Unitac Builders.