CM’s office den of corruption, US firm got Rs 4.63 crore for report on Sabarimala airport: Chennithala
Kerala government has no money to pay salaries to its employees, pension for the aged or keep its road transport wing afloat, but could splurge Rs 4.63 crore on a US consultant firm for preparing a report on an airport at Sabarimala that was in the air, not on the ground; the land for the airport had not even been identified by the government.
Making this charge, Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala said Kerala was witnessing a ‘consultancy raj’ under the LDF government which had a love for appointing foreign consultants even for minor projects when the state was packed with its own experts.
According to Chennithala, Louis Berger was appointed in 2017, even before the site for the Sabarimala airport project was identified. “The firm was awarded Rs 4.63 crore just for coming up with a 38-page feasibility report. Even though the state’s Public Works Department has enough expertise, Louis Berger has also been appointed as consultant for three road projects,” he said.
Chennithala alleged that the Chief Ministers Office is using the fig leaf of consultancy to indulge in corruption.
A visibly angry Chief Minister dismissed the allegations and said the appointment of Louis Berger as the consultant for the proposed airport in Sabarimala was not in violation of norms and said it was appointed for feasibility studies.
“The question of Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala on why a consultancy was appointed for the Sabarimala Greenfield airport before occupying the land for it is a good question. But that can be asked only by those who never want the airport to be a reality,” the Kerala CM said.
But it was the same Pinarayi who recently messed up with Sabarimala trampling at will on the sentiments of the devotees of the hillshrine god.
So, how come there is a sudden love for Sabarimala, Comrade Pinarayi? Elections that are round the corner? Does the state not have experts to do the same job?