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Opposition blames minister for cash hassles

Opposition blames minister for cash hassles

Thiruvananthapuram: Finance Minister Thomas Issac was attacked on Sunday by the opposition over the way he handled the post-demonetisation situation in the state, causing difficulties to both salaried class and pensioners.

The Congress-led United Democratic Front and the state BJP severely criticised Professor of Economics-turned Finance Minister Thomas Issac for the sufferings of virtually every section of the society since the central government's demonetisation move.

Senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in the assembly Ramesh Chennithala told reporters that it pained him when Issac went personal against him as he (Chennithala) talked about the minister's callous attitude and the manner in which he handled staff payments.

"While the Finance Ministers in other states chalked out plans to mitigate the sufferings of people, Issac did not come out with any crisis management measures and conducted a meeting of banking officials only at the eleventh hour, which compounded the crisis," Chennithala said.

"Hence, there was a heavy burden on the state treasuries and banks that disburse the salaries and pensions," said Chennithala, challenging the minister to publish the minutes of the meeting that he held with the bank officials.

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and state unit spokesperson P.K. Krishnadas said that going by his statements, Issac appears to be a bundle of contradictions.

"For 22 days, he kept speaking about the cooperative banks' issue and the CPI-M held a hartal and spread panic among the people. The state cabinet could have taken the decision to toe the line of the Centre within 24 hours..."

"After creating a panic-like situation, the state finally agreed to go the the central government way. In Tripura, where also the CPI-M rules, there appears no panic at all. Now Issac has started saying that the salary in the next month could be a problem," said Krishnadas.

Issac is again and again asking why there is no untoward incident in Kerala on account of demonetisation, which is nothing but instigating the people to turn against the central government, Krishnadas added.

"It's time Issac is divested of the finance portfolio," he said.

However, dismissing all charges with his characteristic smile, Issac said the root cause of all the problems is a huge shortage of currency notes.

"It will take six months for the things to settle down, as there is a huge shortage of currency notes and only the central government can resolve the issues. Next month, the state will again have a shortage of money, as there is going to be a drop in the revenues," said the minister.

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