Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Minister\'s remark leads to uproar

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Opposition United Democratic Front created a rumpus in the Assembly on Wednesday in protest against a remark made by Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Ports M. Vijayakumar.

The Minister made the remark while replying to the debate on the demand for grants for Ports. In protest against the remark, the Opposition rushed to the well of the House. They were calmed only after the Minister withdrew the reference and the Speaker expunged the controversial portion of the statement.

Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy led a boycott of the rest of the sitting demanding an expression of regret from Mr. Vijayakumar.

Earlier, the Minister told the House that the government proposed to develop Kerala into a maritime State. The statutory Maritime Board, proposed for coordinating the activities of ports in the State, would be formed this year. Coastal shipping services connecting the Azeekal, Bepyore and Kollam ports would be started in two months.

Mr. Vijayakumar said that expressions of interest had been called for development of the second phase of the Vizhinjam international transhipment terminal. The government had taken up development of basic infrastructure for the port in the first phase costing Rs.1,000 crore. A new wharf had been inaugurated at the old port.

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