Thiruvananthapuram: Two-time former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Wednesday said that the flagship project of State Finance Minister Thomas Issac, the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB), was nothing but a bluff as the 'announcements made on the project and the reality do not match at all'.
The KIIFB is a government owned financial institution formed to mobilise funds for infrastructure development from outside the state revenues. The minister has been highlighting the project frequently.
The reason why Chandy has taken on Issac and the KIIFB is a four-page advertisement in the newspapers recently.
"This KIIFB advertisement has cost the state exchequer a staggering Rs four crores, when the state is passing through one of its worst financial crisis. The ad claims that 730 projects of varying sizes and shapes costing Rs 57,000 crores have been sanctioned," said Chandy.
"Since 2016 (when Issac took over as the Minister) till now the KIIFB was able to raise Rs 15,315.25 crores, of which only Rs 5,957.96 crores have been utilised in various announced projects. Two thirds of the projects announced in 2016 are yet to get sanction and those projects which have begun, are now moving at a snail's pace.
"Now with just seven months time left for this government, all the announced projects won't even be able to get the administrative sanction. These are nothing but gimmicks meant for the upcoming elections," said Chandy adding, "Where is the money going to come from?"
Chandy alleged that Issac is borrowing from all quarters while the total public debt as in 2015-16 (when Chandy demitted office) was Rs 1,57,370.33 crores.
"And since they took over till today that has gone up by Rs 1,06,088.96 crores and by the time this government's tenure ends, the total public debt of Kerala will be in excess of Rs three lakh crores. Due to the wasteful expenditure and lavish spending, Kerala will end up in deep trouble," added Chandy.
Two crucial elections are round the corner in the state -- the local body polls to be held in October and the Assembly polls in April/May next year.
The KIIFB is a statutory body constituted through the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Act, 1999.