Congress slams Kerala govt for its 'extravagance' in KFON inauguration

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V D Satheesan | Photo: PTI

Thiruvananthapuram: The opposition Congress on Wednesday hit out at the Left Government in Kerala for granting over Rs 4 crore for the launch ceremony of its flagship Kerala Fibre Optic Network (KFON) project, and accused the CPI(M)-led regime of "extravagance" while the state was facing a financial crisis.

The party-led UDF has already stated it will boycott the inauguration of the multi-crore project to provide free internet connectivity and all events related to it because of "corruption behind it".

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Though it was initially announced that 20 lakh families and 10,000 government offices would be provided free internet connections within 18 months under the scheme, the number of beneficiaries was later reduced to just 10,000, the opposition alleged.

Even after reducing the number of beneficiaries, the government has failed to complete the project in which Rs 1,500 crore had already been invested, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly V D Satheesan said here.

The inauguration of KFON, announced in 2017, was held during the tenure of the previous Vijayan government also, he said, adding that it is being conducted again now without completing the project.

"The government is in dire financial constraints as it is finding it hard to pay even salary and pension to its employees. Yet, there is no dearth for extravagance," Satheesan told reporters here.

A total of Rs 4.35 crore has been allocated for the inauguration of the KFON which will be held in a hall within the Legislative Assembly complex, he said.

Alleging that corruption and extravagance were the hallmarks of the Pinarayi Vijayan government, Satheesan reiterated that the opposition would not cooperate in the rollout of the project and its launch.

He also shared a copy of the recent government order regarding the release of funds for the inaugural expenses of the multi-crore project.

In its order dated May 24, the government said it has examined the matter in detail and was pleased to "release an amount of Rs.4.35 Crore to KSITIL, for meeting the expenses" related to the inauguration ceremony of KFON project.

Satheesan alleged that a total of Rs 124 crore was spent for the anniversary celebrations of the Vijayan government which completed two years in office recently.

During the press meet, Satheesan termed as "strange" Chief Minister Vijayan's recent allegation that the opposition is standing with the BJP on the issue of the central government cutting down the borrowing limit of the state.

The LoP further said Vijayan was attacking the opposition on the matter even if he had no knowledge or information on it.

He also criticised the state government for requesting the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to conduct the audit procedures in a software which it prescribes and said it was a "violation of the Constitution".


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