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Minister denies corruption charges

Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Labour Minister Shibu Baby John on Wednesday denied any corruption behind the stoppage of the construction of some flats.

Intervening in a debate on the Motion of Thanks to the Governor for his address, the Minister said he was willing to resign if any irregularities were proven against him.

Mr. John said the stoppage of work was ordered following inspection of the sites and employment conditions of workers from other States. Deaths of some migrant workers had occurred on account of poor or unsafe working conditions on some sites.

He said the stop-memo had issued to only 12 of the 36 work sites inspected. Of the 12, four were allowed to restart work on fulfilling the norms. However, two builders had continued work despite the stop-memos, and police assistance had to be obtained to make them obey the order.

Ports Minister K. Babu told the House that the previous government had conducted three inaugural functions for the Vizhinjam International Transshipment project. The last was for a 600-m link road. However, the work had not started. Though the previous government had sought loans for the project from banks, the consortium of banks had promised only Rs.300 crore, subject to environment clearance for the project.

He said the Centre had taken a decision to approve site-specific terms of reference for environmental impact assessment (EIA) instead of the project-specific clearance for EIA given earlier.

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