Kerala Governor reads out remarks against central farm laws in Assembly

Kerala Governor reads out remarks against central farm laws in Assembly

Thiruvananthapuram: The budget session of the Kerala Assembly began on a stormy note on Friday as opposition UDF staged a protest against Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan over dollar the smuggling case and boycotted the policy address by Governor Arif Mohammad Khan, who flayed the contentious central farms laws.

Sticking to the policy address of the CPIM-led LDF government, Khan read out in full the remarks against thefarm laws, against which the assembly had passed an unanimous resolution on December 31.

In his twohour and ten minutes-long address, he also attacked the central investigating agencies, probing various allegations against the state government programmes, saying they have "overstepped the constitutional contours".

As Khan began his address, the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) members, who came with banners and posters, raised slogans against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the Speaker levelling various allegations.

They demanded the resignation of the Speaker, facing some allegations in connection with the dollar smuggling case in which his assistant private secretary K Ayyappan was questioned by the Customs in Kochi on Friday. Customs sources said Ayyappan was summoned to cross examine evidence it had gathered on alleged involvement of some "powerful persons" in the case.

Despite the sloganeering, the Governor began on time the customary address which detailed the achievements and performances of the lone Left front government in the country in its over four-and half-year tenure.

A visibly irritated Khan asked the opposition members thrice to allow him fulfill his Constitutional duty, but his plea fell on deaf ears. "I am doing my constitutional is expected that no obstruction will be created while the Governor is performing constitutional duties. You have already raised enough slogans...Don't interrupt me," he said.

Referring to the protest by farmers against the new laws, he said "These agrarian laws will undermine regulated markets, result in eventual demise of minimum support price and tilt the balance of bargaining power definitely in favour of corporate middle men."

Being a consumer state, Kerala was also going to be "affected adversely" by the Essential Commodities Act amendment and resultant hoarding and profiteering, he said. On central agencies, he said "Actions of certain central government agencies have overstepped the constitutional contours and are impeding the development activities and flagship programmes undertaken by the state. This has had a demoralising effect on honest and hard-working officers," the Governor claimed.

Khan also said in such a situation "co-operative federalism would lose its content and remain only in form".

Detailing various "pro-people" measures taken by the Vijayan government, especially during COVID-19 pandemic, he said it started community kitchens for the needy to ensure that none went hungry during the lockdown.

It had been distributing provision kits to ration card holders and providing free treatment to COVID-19 patients.

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