Friday, July 26, 2013

Exclusion of ex-dean from panel adds to seaplane row: India

Trade unions representing fish workers have protested that the state government failed to honor the commitment that K S Purushan, former dean, Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS) will be included in the expert committee constituted to study the controversies related to the much celebrated seaplane project.

The expert committee includes Madhusoodhana Kurup, VC, KUFOS, K G Padmakumar, former director of Regional Agricultural Research Station, Kumarakom, Suman Billa, tourism secretary, S Anil Kumar,general manager, Kerala Tourism Infrastructure Limited and an expert from CMFRI.

T J Anjelose, former MP and president of the Kerala State Fish Workers Federation(AITUC) said that there was a meeting on Tuesday in Thiruvananthapuram to discuss the controversies related to the seaplane project.

According to him, a consensus was reached in that meeting, which was attended by the Minister of Tourism, the Minister of Fisheries, tourism secretary, other senior officials and senior trade union leaders, about the formation of the committee.

“All trade unions unanimously suggested the name of K S Purushan, who is considered an expert in fisheries sciences and the coastal economy. The ministers and other officials had agreed to this. But later, his name was omitted and S Anil Kumar, a key official behind the project was included. His name was not discussed in the consultation between trade unions and the government”, Anjelose said.

He added that AITUC would not cooperate with the committee if the government fails to honour the initial commitment.

“I have formally written to the tourism minister”, he said. V V Sashindran, general convenor, Kerala Fisheries Coordination Committee said that he will also write to the government to stick to the initial stand.

 “The tourism department lacked transparency and was undemocratic from the very beginning of the project. Initially, they promised that they would launch the project only after proper consultation with the fishing community. But they launched the operations in an arbitrary manner and thus it was met with militant protest from the people”, he said. A P Anil Kumar, Minister for Tourism, said that the newly constituted committee will look into all dimensions of the controversy objectively.