The State Government has not been able to come up with a cogent response a day after Defence Minister A.K. Antony delivered a rap on its knuckles.

Addressing a public function here, Antony took his host Congress-led Government in his home State to task for apparent non-performance on industrial front.

DEFENCE INVESTMENTS

The occasion was the inauguration of the missile integration complex of BrahMos Aerospace Thiruvananthapuram (BATL) here on Wednesday.

The Defence Minister lamented the ‘laxity’ on the part of the State Government in working with him to bring defence-related industrial units to the State.

He went on to heap encomiums on the previous Government led by the Left Democratic Front (LDF), which now sits in the Opposition.

“I received unsolicited support and wholehearted cooperation from the LDF Government,” he said in the presence of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Industries Minister P.K. Kunhalikkutty.

Also sharing the stage was Elamaram Kareem, Industries Minister in the previous Government, whom Antony singled out for praise along with V.S. Achuthanandan, then Chief Minister.

SINGLE VOICE

The State had better speak in a single voice and coax the Centre to secure more Central investments, he said in apparent reference to the inter-party and intraparty rumblings on various issues.

Conducive atmosphere for drawing investments was lacking, the Defence Minister said. “I no longer have confidence in getting the Centre to commit more investments in the State,” Antony said, contrasting his experience during the previous government. “I am at a loss to figure out who is responsible for this situation, but that doesn’t really matter. “

The diatribe comes in the backdrop of protests being mounted by trade unions, including pro-Congress Indian National Trade Union Congress, against BATL’s alleged anti-labour policies.

Antony clarified that BrahMos is an Indo-Russian joint initiative with India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation holding 50.5 per cent of shares and Russia the rest.

vinson.kurian@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on November 15, 2012)
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