Thursday, Sep 25, 2003
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By T. Ramavarman
The target of Mr. Balanandan's attack in his speech at the KSRTC Employees' Association meeting in Kollam on Tuesday was M.P. Parameswaran, who is one of the founding members of the KSSP.
When contacted by `The Hindu', Mr. Parameswaran declined to react to Mr. Balanandan's criticism, saying that it was for others in the Left movement to respond. Much of the `charges' levelled by Mr. Balanandan are in fact now the official position of the Left movement and particularly the CPI(M), though they were originally raised by environmental groups like the KSSP, he argued.
However, the scientist, R.V.G. Menon, who is also a prominent leader of the KSSP, denied the charges of Mr. Balanandan that the KSSP had been opposing all major industries. "The KSSP has been opposing only those industries that are polluting, energy-intensive and less labour generating."
"Kerala has much pressure on land and energy, and has very high levels of unemployment. It is also an environmentally sensitive region with rich bio-diversity. In such a situation, small and medium-scale industries are the best option for the State. But there are some industries such as oil refineries that can achieve economies of scale only if they are set up as large units, and the KSSP has never opposed such industries."
We had opposed polluting industries like the Mavoor Gwalior Rayons or industries like Aluminum Company, which use electricity as raw material. Even in the case of the polluting industries like the Rayons or the Travancore Titanium, the KSSP has been demanding their modernisation and not closure,'' Prof. Menon pointed out.
Mr. Balanandan had alleged that the KSSP was responsible for the power shortage in Kerala as it had blocked the starting of the Silent Valley power project
by campaigning against it. Referring to this, Prof. Menon said the events of the last two decades indicated that the State was able to tide over an acute power crisis because it had accepted the alternative suggested by the KSSP in 1980s.
"The KSSP had campaigned against the Silent Valley project because it was neither necessary nor sufficient to resolve the power problem of the State. Had we started the Silent Valley project, we would have got another 75 MW of power, which is far from being sufficient to meet the power demand of the State.
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