V D Satheesan | Photo: PTI
Kochi: Alleging corruption behind the Kerala Fibre Optic Network (K-FON) project, Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly V D Satheesan on Monday said the Congress-led UDF will boycott the inauguration ceremony of the Left government's programme to provide free internet connectivity and all events related to it.
The Congress leader said the UDF was not against the project but decided to boycott the inauguration on June 5 because of the "corruption behind it".
"The opposition levelled the allegations of corruption with solid proof. However, the Chief Minister is not yet ready to respond," he told reporters here.
Satheesan said that when the K-FON project was launched in 2017, it was announced that free internet connections would be provided to 20 lakh people in 18 months. "But even after seven years, only 14,000 people are being given connections. The estimated amount of Rs 1,028 crore (for setting up the project) has been increased by 50 percent to Rs 1,531 crore," he alleged.
The Congress leader also claimed that corruption in the K-FON project was bigger than corruption in the AI camera deal for the 'Safe Kerala' project.
Taking a dig at the government for the recent fires that occurred in the godowns of Medical Services Corporation, Satheesan accused the government of trying to hide corruption by allegedly setting fire to things related to the allegations made by the opposition.
"This is also what happened in the Brahmapuram and Medical Services Corporation scams. If you make an allegation in connection with the Secretariat, then fire will erupt there. If the opposition makes further allegations, the ruling party will set Kerala itself on fire. The government is trying to hide the corruption," he alleged.
Last week, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced that the Left government's ambitious K-FON project will be launched on June 5, saying around 20 lakh families that are economically backward would benefit from the free internet service and that K-FON will provide connectivity to others at an affordable rate.
Vijayan had earlier said that the K-FON network would provide internet connectivity to schools, hospitals, government offices and other public institutions and will be a "catalyst for the knowledge-based economy envisioned by the state".