Deputy Speaker Chittayam Gopakumar urged the State Government to protect the cash-strapped Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation (Supplyco) with a special package in the Budget. The Deputy Speaker also criticised the Finance Department for withholding funds to two projects in his constituency.
Participating in the general discussion on the State Budget in the Assembly on Monday, Mr. Gopakumar, who belongs to the CPI, sought the inclusion of a ₹500 crore package in the budget for propping up Supplyco. The Deputy Speaker also sought steps to equip ration shops to stock food items for at least two months. “Supplyco plays a major role in making food items available to the people at low prices and in market intervention. Now, Supplyco is in crisis. At this stage, the government has the moral responsibility to protect it,” he said.
The Deputy Speaker’s suggestion assumes significance in the wake of the allegation that Finance Minister K.N. Balagopal’s State Budget has scant allocation for food and civil supplies, a portfolio handled by a CPI minister.
In his speech, Mr. Gopakumar also criticised the Finance Department for withholding funds to two projects in his constituency; ₹60 lakh for a Gandhi Park project in Adoor and ₹16 lakh for an ‘Anthipachcha’ scheme.
He observed that MLAs have the right to allocate money from their Asset Development Funds and appoint accredited agencies. “I’m not sure whether the Finance Department is wresting the rights of MLAs,” he said. He sought urgent intervention by the government in releasing the funds.