The UDF, it seems, is pained not only because former chief minister Oommen Chandy has not been invited to the inaugural of the Kannur International Airport. They are equally sad that another ex-CM, the CPM veteran V S Achuthanandan, has also been ignored by the CPM-led LDF government. In protest, the UDF will 'keep away' from the inaugural function. “This is not a boycott, we are just keeping away from the function,” opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said. He, however, did not elaborate.
“Chandy and Achuthanandan are the two people who have done most for the airport,” said Chennithala. “It was during Achuthanandan's time that the land acquisition for the project was done. The rest of the work was completed when Chandy was the chief minister,” he said. Chennithala said that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan himself had gone on record saying that over 90 per cent of the work related to the airport was completed in 2015 itself.
Chennithala said that it was ironical that the CPM was trying to claim the airport as its baby. “When the UDF government did a trial run, E P Jayarajan, staged a protest demanding that the length of the runway should be increased to at least 4,000 metres,” he said. “But now they have gone ahead with the inauguration without adding even a metre to the 3,050 metres that was laid during the UDF tenure,” he added.
The opposition said that the government was desperately trying to pass off the airport as its triumph. “No discussions on the conduct of the inaugural function were held with MLAs from Kannur or even the opposition,” Chennithala said. He said he was called by the Kannur International Airport Limited (KIAL) MD, but was not consulted otherwise.
As further proof of the government's determination to leave the opposition out, Chennithala said there were blatant protocol violations in the programme notice. The names of K M Mani and P K Kunhalikutty came after the district collector in the notice.
The Kannur airport will be inaugurated on December 9.
'Amit Shah already inaugurated the airport'
Further, Chennithala wanted to know whether the inaugural was relevant. “Hadn't BJP president Amit Shah already inaugurated the airport,” he asked. “Why should we need a second inauguration,” he said. On October 27, Shah unofficially became the 'first passenger' to land in the new airport in Kannur. The state government did all it can to stop Shah from landing, but it had to give in after Civil Aviation authorities gave the go ahead.
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