Achuthanandan frowns at Bengal CM's bandh comment

Written by Economy Bureau | Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 27 | Updated: Aug 28 2008, 07:59am hrs
Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan on Wednesday resented the anti-bandh comment of CPI(M) politburo collegue and West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. The 85-year old veteran is also vehemently against his party's rethink on land reforms.

"I don't think he could voice such an opinion. And if he had said so, then it is wrong," Achuthanandan said, when asked of Buddhadeb's comment that he would speak out against such modes of protests even if his party exhorted the bandh. He was speaking to reporters after a meeting of the Cabinet, here.

Achuthanandan explained last week's all-India strike called by Left trade unions, pointing out that it was part of the struggles highlighting problems faced by the common man.

While CPI(M) is ready to go ahead with SEZs, Chief Ministers and CPI(M)'s partners in LDF - CPI, RSP and Janata Dal - are against it. Out of Kerala's 21 proposed SEZs, as many as ten are ready (with necessary land acquisition complete) waiting for the state Cabinet's clearance for the last two years. Chief Minister had been denying this nod, citing need for more discussion.

In a veiled sling at CPI(M) state unit who insists on a rethink of Kerala's land reforms, Achuthanandan said the benefits of land reforms are yet to trickle down to the masses.

"As one of the very few living among the Left leaders who set in motion the land reforms, I feel the present debate on land reforms is intended sheerly to protect the real estate mafia," Chief Minister said.

Within three months, Kerala government will start distributing surplus land it has confiscated from the violators to the landless. He said that 1200 acres reclaimed in Idukky district in the first phase, 10,000 acres reclaimed in the second phase and 5000 acres from other districts are now with Kerala government. These will be transferred to the landless.