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Uproar in Assembly over trans-grid project; UDF alleges corruption

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Uproar in Assembly over trans-grid project; UDF alleges corruption
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Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress-led UDF opposition on Tuesday rocked the Kerala Assembly during question hour, alleging corruption in the ambitious trans-grid project, being implemented by Kerala State Electricity Board.

While UDF members alleged that the awarding of contract of the trans-grid project was one of the finest examples of 'scientific corruption', power minister M M Mani rubbished the charges, saying that the project would strengthen the transmission and distribution system of electricity and bring down transmission losses in the state.

The UDF members trooped to the well of the House and protested before the podium of the Speaker, P Sreeramakrishnan for some time,alleging that the minister's reply on the tender proceedings and contract amounted to misleading the House.

Opposition leader in the assembly Ramesh Chennithala said the order issued by former Chief Secretary K M Abraham while serving as the additional chief secretary (finance) on tender proceedings had been violated in the trans grid project.

The estimate rate of the Rs 10,000 crore worth-project was much higher than the tender rates, he charged.

"As per the order, if the tender amount rises above 10 per cent, it should be re-tendered and if the tender amount further exceeds by 10 per cent, it should be re-estimated and then tendered.

The order was issued to avoid discrepancies and check corruption in awarding contracts of the significant government projects.

But, it was violated in the case of the trans-grid project," he alleged.

Rejecting the charges, Mani said the order was not applicable to the KSEB projects.

Stating that such allegations would only curtail the development of the state, the minister dared the opposition to give in writing the charges.

He also said the opposition was trying to cover up their bypoll debacle by levelling "baseless allegations".

As the ruling and opposition benches continued the war of words over the subject, the Speaker took up the other scheduled question.

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