Will not yield to forces that seek to derail progress, says Pinarayi

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government will not allow blind political antagonism to derail Kerala’s development.

Addressing a group of Keralites in Telangana on Saturday, Mr. Vijayan said the administration would not capitulate to those who opposed background infrastructure creation merely for the sake of opposition.

Mr. Vijayan seemed to refer to the political resistance mounted by the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) against the government’s flagship programme SilverLine semi high-speed rail project.

The welfare of future generations was the government’s lodestar. The SilverLine greenfield project would open up Kerala’s verdant hinterlands for development, decongest arterial roads and reduce the State’s carbon footprint. The project would minimise the travel time between Thiruvananthapuram and Kasaragod from 14 hours to four hours.

Mr. Vijayan expressed confidence that the government would surmount opposition to the project. The State had successfully doused resistance to GAIL pipeline, Kudankulam-Kerala power grid and national highway expansion by taking the public into confidence and giving adequate compensation to families displaced by the mega development schemes.

“The question is whether the government should place emphasis on development or succumb to vested interests hostile to the State’s interests. The answer is the government is responsible for future generations. They will blame us if we do not modernise the State. Hence, the administration would fast track development,” Mr. Vijayan said.

The Chief Minister said the LDF government upheld the legacy of the renaissance movement that pushed Kerala on the path of social progress. The EMS government in 1957 paved the way for a modern Kerala through progressive and humanist legislation. For one, it passed a law making school education universal and starting public-funded schools across the State. Kerala’s living standard and life index matched that of developed nations.

The 2016 LDF government overcame the friction and inertia that impeded the State’s development. The State-funded rapid modernisation of schools, hospitals, and transport infrastructure by using outside budget borrowings provided by the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB). A modern health system ensured Kerala did not lack hospital beds, life-saving supplemental oxygen and ventilators during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative helped Kerala survive the pandemic and two back-to-back floods.

Kerala was also focused on creating a knowledge economy by upgrading its higher education sector with an accent on research and development and reskilling the workforce.

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