February 16, 2006
Kerala: The State Assembly on Wednesday witnessed noisy scenes over the SNC Lavalin issue as Electricity Minister Aryadan Mohammed was replying to allegations made by Opposition members during the general discussion on the Budget for the coming year.
The CPI (M) members interrupted the Minister often pointing to the culpability of the UDF Governments also in the Lavalin deal. All the CPI (M) members stood up in protest as the former Electricity Minister Kadavoor Sivadasan interjected to say that former Power Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was responsible for the losses suffered by the State. Mr. Vijayan would have incorporated the proposed assistance for the Malabar Cancer Hospital into the agreement if he had wanted the State to benefit from the deal, Mr. Sivadasan said.
Referring to the allegation that the first UDF Government headed by Mr. Antony had signed the first memorandum of understanding (MoU) with SNC Lavalin, Mr. Mohammed said the MoU was only for consultancy services. It was during the LDF Government that the company had been granted the supply contract. The contract was signed after the visit of a Ministerial team to Canada in October 1997. When the supply contract was signed, the consultancy charges had not been deducted.
Denying Opposition charge that the present Government had failed to renew MoU on assistance to the hospital, the Minister said the MoU was still valid. It could be cancelled only after giving an advance notice to either party. He said the State had lost Rs.316 crores in the deal. Referring to the Opposition contention that the Kuttiyadi Augmentation Scheme initiated by the UDF was a similar deal, he said the grant component had been incorporated into the agreement in case of the Kuttiyadi scheme.